DUI suspect faces murder charge after local father killed in 125 mph crash
LAS VEGAS (KSNV NEWS3LV) —
The man accused of killing a local father in a high-speed DUI crash is now facing a murder charge after police say he drove high on marijuana, sped more than 125 mph in a residential area, and ran a stop sign.
The crash occurred earlier this month near Tropicana Avenue and Fort Apache Road at the intersection of Tee Pee Lane and Tompkins Avenue.
District Attorney Steve Wolfson filed a second-degree murder charge against Ronald Leavell, 47, citing a “blatant disregard" for human life.
Gerardo Villicana Jr., 26, was killed in the three-car crash. He was engaged to be married, father to a young daughter, and expecting another child.
Villicana’s mother-in-law Ruby Munoz recalls the moment when she realized he was the victim in a deadly crash.
"I immediately felt my heart sink … like I need to go to the site because it's a half a block from their home," said Munoz.
Today, candles and handwritten notes mark the site.
"Gerardo – the sweetest person that came into my daughter's life … an aspiring artist, hardworking man, father, fiancé, son…" said Munoz.
Police say the accused driver, Leavell, ran a stop sign at more than 125 mph in a residential area marked for 25 mph traffic. An arrest report reveals Leavell was arrested on suspicion of driving high on marijuana. Leavell told police he smokes pot at least four times a day, according to the report.
More than two weeks following the deadly crash, the Clark County District Attorney filed a second-degree murder charge against Leavell.
"This tragedy rises to a level far greater than your typical DUI case. The total disregard for human life cannot, and will not, be tolerated," said Wolfson.
While Villicana's family says they are grateful for the swift move toward justice, they concede it won't bring back their loved one.
Munoz has a message for the accused DUI driver.
"Not only did you choose to do that, you chose to speed and take a stop sign and kill someone so innocent, so full of life. His children are never going to be able to see him or know him because you chose to get in your vehicle," said Munoz.
Leavell remains in custody with his bail set at $500,000. He is expected back in court next month.