Suspect in fatal crash found dead
A 52-year-old Fallon man under investigation for allegedly killing a Churchill County Middle School student with his vehicle last month was found dead Tuesday.
Both The Fallon Post and Lahontan Valley News, which have been working together in this case, learned Wednesday of Douglas Charles Tracy’s death after the Churchill County Sheriff’s Office confirmed he died by suicide.
The Nevada Highway Patrol is investigating the Sept. 25 crash because Tracy previously worked in law enforcement for several agencies in Churchill County. On the day of the accident that killed Jaiden Locarnini Barajas, 13, at a bus stop on Rice Road near Carson River Road, the NHP requested a search warrant from Judge Thomas Stockard of the Tenth Judicial District Court in Fallon after Tracy refused to submit to a sobriety test. Stockard approved the request at 12:57 p.m.
According to a copy of the search warrant obtained by the two Fallon media outlets, Tracy exhibited a “driving pattern and refusal of a field sobriety test.” Furthermore, Tracy refused to take a preliminary breath test, horizontal gaze nystagmus test (defined as “involuntary jerking of one’s eye when it gazes to the side”), walk and turn test and one leg stand test. The NHP then executed the search warrant to have Banner Churchill Community Hospital draw six evidentiary vials of blood. The blood samples were then taken to Reno.
On the day of the crash, the NHP said a teal GMC pickup was heading westbound, but for some unknown reason, the driver veered into the eastbound lane and then onto the shoulder, where the truck hit Jaiden. The Churchill County School District said Jaiden attended the PM session. The boy’s stepfather, Wayne Quigley, said Jaiden kicked his younger sister out of the way before the truck smashed into him. Another sister had stepped forward to see if the bus was coming. She was unhurt.
Quigley said at a candlelight vigil two days later that Jaiden saved his sisters’ lives.
The NHP and its Major Accident Investigations Team responded to conduct the traffic investigation, and the Churchill County Sheriff’s Office conducted the coroner investigation.
Trooper Hannah DeGoey said Wednesday the crash is still under investigation and a request to expedite toxicology reports has been made, but it could from two weeks to two months before results are returned.
The family said a GoFundMe page has been set up in Jaiden’s memory. Go to https://gf.me/u/y2n426.
Mass for Julian will be conducted Friday at 6 p.m. at Holy Cross Church, 5650 Vista Blvd. in Sparks. Viewing is Saturday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at Walton’s Funeral Home, 2155 Kietzke Lane, Reno, and burial is at 2 p.m. at Our Mother of Sorrows Cemetery, 2700 N. Virginia St., Reno.
Rachel Dahl is editor of The Fallon Post, and Steve Ranson is Editor Emeritus of the Lahontan Valley News.