Judge won't lower suspect's bail

MINDEN - East Fork Justice of the Peace Jim EnEarl refused Wednesday to reduce the $200,000 bail of a Gardnerville man accused of killing a mother of four in a two-car collision.

As he has in a prior court appearance, 23-year-old Michael Ball wept during the proceedings in East Fork Justice Court, but he did not speak.

"I understand your emotion, but there is no need to cry in here," EnEarl said. The court audience was filled with supporters of Ball as well as family and friends of Tamra Dykes, 46, the woman he is accused of killing as the result of the accident.

Dykes and Ball lived across Douglas Avenue from each other in Gardnerville, but the accident happened a few miles away in the Gardnerville Ranchos on July 16.

Ball faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted of two counts of felony reckless driving, one is for allegedly causing Dykes' death, the other is for injures sustained by Ball's passenger, Travis Hayes.

Ball's court-appointed attorney Terri Steik Roeser said Wednesday that if bail was reduced to $50,000 and he was released, Ball could stay at his brother's three-bedroom apartment under house arrest.

"This is a very serious case, it's very emotional," Roeser said.

She argued the terms of the bail would assure that her client and the community were safe.

Ball is accused of driving the vehicle that collided with Dykes while he was out on bail on felony drug charges. He has a long history of driving violations and other arrests and has spent more than 630 days in jail since 1998, according to Douglas County Sheriff's Sgt. Lance Modispacher.

Chief Douglas County Deputy District Attorney Kristine Brown argued against bail reduction, saying that before the accident Ball had indicated he wanted to move to California.

Even though his driver's license was revoked, Brown said Ball was driving his girlfriend's parents' car when the accident occurred. The crash is still under investigation. Modispacher said toxicology reports are expected in two weeks to determine if Ball was under the influence of any controlled substance.

If convicted of causing the wreck while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he faces between two and 20 years in prison on each count.

Brown said in addition to fearing Ball is a flight risk, she didn't think he takes bail conditions seriously.

"The issues raised by the state are the same concerns of the court," EnEarl said. "When Mr. Ball has been out on bail before, he has had previous convictions showing he is not using the best judgment."

At the time of the accident, Ball was free on $10,000 bail following a July 8 arrest for felony possession of methamphetamine and misdemeanor drug paraphernalia, according to Brown.

Brown said they will delay prosecution on Ball's earlier drug-related charges until after the reckless driving case is resolved.

EnEarl set a preliminary hearing at 8 a.m. on Aug. 2 on the felony reckless driving charges.

In order for Ball to make bail, he would have to come up with $20,000 cash, fees and $200,000 collateral.


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