The bail for a Johnson Lane man accused of killing 22-year-old Fallon Montanucci in an April 23 head-on collision was increased to $450,000 on Wednesday.
Matthew Joseph Premo, 26, appeared in East Fork Justice Court with attorney Maria Pence by video from the Douglas County Jail.
Premo is facing felony charges of driving under the influence causing death and causing substantial bodily harm after the wrong-way head-on collision about a third of a mile north of Airport Road.
Fallon Montanucci was killed in the collision while her sister Avalon was severely injured.
Prosecutor Chelsea Mazza said that a blood draw at the hospital revealed a blood alcohol content of .266 just over two hours after the collision.
With his family in attendance, Pence argued for Premo’s release on his own recognizance or at least have a bail set at the statutory amount of $51,000. She said he would likely be confined to a wheelchair for 8-10 weeks as a result of injuries received in the collision.
Under Nevada law, there is a presumption for release without cash bail with the burden on prosecutors to prove the accused poses a threat to the community or poses a flight risk.
Pence said that if Premo was going to run, he could have done so on Monday when he was medically released. She said he knew that troopers were coming to arrest him and he stayed put awaiting their arrival on Tuesday morning.
Pence said that Premo was born in Carson City and owns a concrete business. He has held a Nevada contractor’s license since March 30, 2020.
Prosecutor Chelsea Mazza sought an increase in bail from $350,000 to $500,000 on each of the felony charges. If convicted he could face 2-20 years on each felony count.
She said the rented 2020 F-150 pickup Premo was driving was filled with concrete equipment, bringing it to a total of three tons when it hit the Hyundai sedan the Montanucci sisters were driving.
Mazza said that Premo entered the southbound lanes on Highway 395 at the intersection with Highway 88. Security footage from the Minden McDonalds showed the silver pickup going in the wrong direction and a witness said he saw the pickup coming and pulled over just before the 4 a.m. collision.
Fallon Montanucci’s mother and Avalon Montanucci both submitted letters to the judge seeking a higher bail.
East Fork Justice of the Peace Pro Tem Paul Gilbert raised Premo’s bail by $100,000.
“This was a horrible tragedy for both families,” Gilbert said in setting bail. “To say this was an egregious accident is a horrible understatement in this case.”
Gilbert cited Premo’s previous cases of driving under the influence and that Premo was looking at decades in prison should he be convicted in increasing the bail.
A July 14 preliminary hearing was set in the case with a June 1 status hearing.
According to court documents, the Montanucci sisters were southbound on Highway 395 at around 4 a.m. as Premo drove north at speeds of 90-100 mph.
Deputies on scene told investigators with the Nevada State Police that they could smell alcohol coming from Premo, who was trapped in the driver’s seat of the silver pickup.
According to court documents, troopers downloaded electronic information from the pickup that showed Premo had driven up to 102 mph and wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.
Premo was convicted of driving under the influence in Sept. 5, 2013, and April 5, 2017. He was also involved in a shooting incident in Carson City in March 2016. Pence said he was convicted of gross misdemeanor discharging a weapon where people could be injured.
Mazza pointed out that report indicated that Premo had been drinking.
“Mr. Premo will not stop drinking,” Mazza said.