Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson believes more should be done to prevent tragedies such as this, including stiffer penalties for first-time DUI offenders.
Three crashes in three days last week left several people injured and Velasquez, 19, dead. Three drivers are behind bars in connection with those wrecks. All of them are suspected of having driven drunk.
"They are killing people, or they are ruining people's lives. I just can't believe that people are still doing it because if you do it, you are going to go to prison," Wolfson said.
Despite that, Wolfson said Nevada has strict DUI laws. The aforementioned crashes are considered felonies because in each instance someone was significantly injured or killed. That means an automatic prison sentence of up to 20 years.
Wolfson said our laws are not strict enough for first- or second-time DUI offenders.
"I think jail time. I think people need to spend a minimum of five days in jail for a DUI offense. That would send a pretty strong message," Wolfson said.
However, Wolfson said that would come with concerns about costs and overcrowded jails.
Wolfson said he'd also like to see mandatory breath interlock devices in the vehicles of convicted drunk drivers.
Defense attorney Chip Siegel believes it is those who provide alcohol who should face harsher penalties.
"This is a 24-hour town. Alcohol flows pretty freely at the casinos, different clubs. There is no liability for the casino in the state, so Nevada is unique," Siegel said.
"I don't have the simple answer. I, like you, am frustrated and scared. I drive on the same roadways that you do, and there are people driving next to us every day under the influence of alcohol and illegal drugs," Wolfson said.
Wolfson said he has five attorneys solely dedicated to DUI cases and that of the hundreds of people arrested each year in Las Vegas for DUI, his office convicts more than half of them.
Metro said there were 31 alcohol-related vehicle fatalities last year. So far, they've made more than 3,600 DUI arrests this year.
Copyright 2013 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
Thursday, August 21 2014 1:54 AM EDT2014-08-21 05:54:23 GMT
Las Vegas nonprofit hospital University Medical Center (UMC) on Wednesday afternoon announced it is eliminating a number of services to save money.More >
Las Vegas nonprofit hospital University Medical Center (UMC) on Wednesday afternoon announced it is eliminating a number of services to save money, which will result in the loss of about 285 positions. More >