Triple-fatal investigation continues
December 28, 2004
Nevada Highway Patrol troopers are still investigating a single-vehicle accident that killed three Fallon residents last week.
Trooper Bob Archey said Tuesday the investigation centers on which of the three victims was driving a 1994 Jeep Cherokee before it careened into a field and rolled several times on Dec. 22.
Killed in the accident were Lee Riggins, 18; Tracy Bennett, 16, and Shawn Dewart, 25.
All three were thrown from the Jeep and pronounced dead on the scene. They were not wearing seat belts.
“We’re trying to find out who the driver was. I’m sure the families want to know, and it helps out on our accident report,” Archey said.
He said investigators are trying to locate anyone who saw the victims leave a Christmas party at the Fallon Livestock Exchange on Trento Lane Dec. 22. Witnesses who saw the Jeep before it crashed through a fence on Sheckler Cut-Off and into a field are also being sought.
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Archey said troopers received one report that a group of girls saw the men leave the party, but those witnesses did not actually see the three get into the vehicle. Others at the party passed the Jeep on U.S. 50 coming into town, but did not know who was driving, he added.
If necessary, troopers will try to lift fingerprints from the steering wheel to determine the driver because other information at the scene was sketchy.
“There was not a lot of evidence in the car or at the scene,” Archey said.
Part of the investigation also involves determining the speed of the Jeep.
That information is still pending, Archey said, and being reconstructed using a diagram of the crash scene.
Investigators do know the Jeep passed another vehicle just before it went off the south edge of the highway, broke through a fence, and rolled.
Results of blood tests will also determine if alcohol was involved, said Archey. He said initial indications are that alcohol was not a factor in the wreck, but officials results won’t know for certain until toxicology tests come back.
Testing blood for alcohol or drugs is a standard procedure in fatal accidents.
Those results can take between four and six weeks.
Contact reporter Marlene Garcia at firstname.lastname@example.org.