Driver charged in fatal rollover at old power dam

MINDEN - The driver of a vehicle involved in a rollover in which a passenger was killed last summer has been charged with four misdemeanors in connection with the accident on Power Dam Road.

Jerett McAlister, 26, appearing in East Fork Justice Court on Wednesday, was arraigned on charges of vehicular manslaughter, driving without due care, driving left of center and failure to wear a seat belt.

Justice Jim EnEarl appointed lawyer Derrick Lopez to represent McAlister who said he couldn't afford to hire an attorney.

McAlister, of Minden, was driving a Jeep Wrangler that rolled over on the dirt portion of Power Dam Road on July 15.

He and passengers Christopher Medina, 22, and Dakota Bonfiglio, 21, both of Gardnerville, were not wearing seat belts, and were ejected from the vehicle.

Medina died of his injuries.

According to reports, McAlister was reportedly driving 30 mph and lost control of the Jeep on part of the road that "washboarded." The vehicle rolled over twice, coming to rest on its side on a guardrail below the road.

The report indicated that the driver had a blood-alcohol content of .032, below the legal limit of .08 for driving. He tested negative for drugs.

McAlister, under supervision of Carson City drug court, told EnEarl he had been sober for 130 days, and had been released from probation in Carson City on an unrelated charge.

He asked EnEarl to restore his driving privileges, but the judge told McAlister to bring proof that he's off probation and has permission from Carson City to drive.

Prosecutor Tom Gregory said McAlister had convictions in 2001 for minor consuming and driving under the influence as well as possession of controlled substance and possession of stolen property. Gregory said a 2002 DUI charge against McAlister had been dismissed.

"I'm not real crazy about him driving," Gregory said.

McAlister tested negative Wednesday for alcohol and controlled substances.

"The state has raised some concerns about your driving," EnEarl said. "You don't have the best of track records. You indicated you're trying to turn that around. I don't know if you're going to be convicted of these charges, and somebody died."

He set McAlister's next court hearing for Dec. 9, but told him he could return sooner if he has the paperwork from Carson City.

McAlister is out of custody on $500 cash bail.


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