Driver pleads guilty in traffic death

The driver in a fatal traffic accident admitted Tuesday that he was under the influence of beer and marijuana when his vehicle crossed the center line on Jacks Valley Road, collided head-on with a vehicle, and killed 42-year-old Gardnerville resident Robin Moroney.

Michael Cordero Perez, 32, pleaded guilty to driving under the influence causing death or substantial bodily harm.

In a plea agreement with the District Attorney's Office, a second charge of driving under the influence of alcohol and controlled substance causing death or substantial bodily harm was dropped.

Perez faces up to 20 years in Nevada State Prison and a $5,000 fine at his May 2 sentencing. He is not eligible for probation or a suspended sentence and must serve a minimum of 24 months in prison. He is on house arrest in lieu of $2,500 cash bail.

"I was late and I had a couple of beers," Perez said before he was stopped by District Judge Dave Gamble who had asked him what happened.

"We're not getting off to a good start," Gamble said.

"I was driving under the influence. I lost control of my vehicle, and I killed Ms. Moroney," Perez said.

A blood draw taken about 90 minutes after the Dec. 20 accident showed Perez's alcohol content at .087, barely over the legal limit of .08 for driving in Nevada.

According to the Nevada Highway Patrol, Perez was southbound on Jacks Valley Road near Bavarian Drive when a witness said he crossed the double-yellow line, overcorrected and collided with a vehicle driven by Moroney.

Moroney had to be extricated from her vehicle and was taken by helicopter to Washoe Medical Center in Reno where she died of her injuries.

Perez was treated for moderate injuries.

Lawyer Tod Young said Perez also tested positive for marijuana above the statutory level.

At his arrest, Perez told officials he had a card for medical marijuana and had smoked it two days before the accident.

"You being under the influence of marijuana and alcohol caused the accident?" Gamble asked.

"Yes, sir," Perez said.

"You crossed the center line?" Gamble said.

"Yes, your honor," Perez replied.

Perez also said he still had his driver's license which Gamble ordered him to surrender Tuesday.

"You are no longer allowed to drive. Is that understood?" Gamble asked.

"Yes, sir," Perez said.


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