A 41-year-old Filipino American man was among the cyclists killed in a Nevada highway crash after a truck driver with high levels of methamphetamine in his system claimed he fell asleep behind the wheel on Dec. 10.
A humble and quiet man: Gerrard Nieva was described by Pamela Inman, his colleague at Fresenius Medical Care in Las Vegas, as a kind and caring person who always made sure the dialysis machines were properly working for patients, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
- “He was very good at what he did,” Inman said. “He cared very much about making sure everything was in proper working order so the patients wouldn’t have any issues, and to make sure nothing put the patients at risk.”
- Nieva, a medical care technician, was part of the group of 20 cyclists that participated in the 15th annual 130-mile Nipton Loop ride, which started at M Resort in Henderson.
- Yash Gokul, Nieva’s close friend and founder of the cycling group Carefast Cycling he was a member of, described him as “a very good human being.”
- “He was a really good team player,” Gokul said. “He was always there, very dedicated, very strong. Definitely an advanced rider. He did a lot of racing with us. A very active member of our team.”
- James Bates, regional technical operations manager for Fresenius, and Mike Stanislawczyk, the company’s vice president of field technical services, said in a joint statement that they are saddened by Nieva’s tragic death.
- “Gerrard was a valued member of our family, and he will be missed tremendously by his colleagues and the many patients he cared for,” they said. “Gerrard devoted many years to improving the lives of every patient every day. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those impacted at this time.”
- Nieva’s family flew from New York and Colorado to Las Vegas to attend a vigil over the weekend.
What happened: Jordan Alexander Barson, 45, killed five cyclists while driving a box truck along Highway 95 near Searchlight and Boulder City, Nevada, on Dec. 10, according to CBS News.
- The victims, all residents of Las Vegas, were identified as 39-year-old Erin Michelle Ray; 57-year-old Michael Todd Murray; 48-year-old Aksoy Ahmet; 57-year-old Thomas Chamberlin Trauger and Nieva.
- Authorities discovered a high level of methamphetamine in Barson’s system during the investigation.
- The driver claims he fell asleep behind the wheel when the fatal crash happened.
- Barson was arrested and booked in Mohave County Jail in Kingman, Arizona, and is waiting to be extradited to Nevada. He is facing six felony charges of driving under the influence, five resulting in death and one resulting in substantial bodily harm to an injured rider, People reported.
- The riders died from blunt force trauma and authorities ruled what happened as accidental.
- “He chose to ingest methamphetamine and drive under its influence, which could have caused him to fall asleep at the wheel,” Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson told KLAS-TV. “That’s a deadly combination and he ruined a number of people’s lives, he took lives, he devastated the cycling community.”