Community mourns Gardnerville mom |

Community mourns Gardnerville mom

by Christy Chalmers

The driver of a car that crossed Tillman Lane and slammed into another, killing a mother of four, has a court record that includes numerous traffic violations, including a high-speed chase on a motorcycle.

The Nevada Highway Patrol identified Michael William Ball, 23, of Gardnerville as the driver of a southbound Honda sedan that crossed onto the northbound side of Tillman Lane on Monday morning near Redwood Circle and crashed into a 1988 Buick driven by Tamra Dykes of Gardnerville.

Dykes, 46, was pronounced dead at the scene. Ball and his passenger, Travis Hayes, 23, of Gardnerville sustained moderate injuries, NHP Trooper Troy Lindley said. They were taken to Washoe Medical Center in Reno by helicopter. Washoe Med spokeswoman Judy Davis said Tuesday Hayes was in fair condition and Ball was in good condition.

Lindley said alcohol tests were conducted, but the results are not available. He said speed may have been a factor.

“We know he was going fast. We don’t have all the details yet,” he said Tuesday.

Lindley added the NHP’s report will be submitted to the Douglas County District Attorney’s office for a decision on whether charges are warranted.

Ball was free on bail in a separate case when the wreck happened Monday. Court records say he was due to appear in justice court today for proceedings involving charges of drug possession.

Court files show Ball has a history of traffic violations.

Ball has been a defendant in 13 criminal cases in East Fork Justice Court since 1998. Though some cases were dismissed and did not involve traffic violations, he has been cited for driving without a valid license and driving with expired registration; failing to yield to an emergency vehicle and speeding.

In May 2000, Ball was arrested and held for investigation of a felony charge of eluding an officer, driving with a revoked privilege and unlawfully taking a motor vehicle after leading an NHP trooper on a chase through Minden and Gardnerville. Court records say the chase hit speeds of more than 80 mph and Ball ran stop signs and traffic lights.

The eluding charge was reduced to a misdemeanor. Ball was sentenced to a total of a year in jail on that and two other cases.

Ball was arrested in December 1999 on fugitive warrants from Alpine County for reckless driving and failing to pay a fine and was suspected of driving a truck that sped away from a juvenile probation officer in February 1999. The officer said in the his report that the suspect vehicle passed other cars at speeds in excess of 90 mph.

As officers continued their investigation Tuesday, Dykes’ friends and family began planning her funeral. A service is planned Saturday at 9 a.m. at Calvary Chapel in Gardnerville, and a memorial fund has been established. Donations can be sent to Faith Christian Academy, Wells Fargo Bank account no. 0436566913. Flowers can be sent to Calvary Chapel or to the Dykes home at 1413 Douglas Ave., Gardnerville.

Brenda Olson, who knew Tamra Dykes for 26 years, said they regarded each other as sisters and adjusting is difficult.

“She was the most loving, caring person I’ve ever known,” she said. “This is a great loss to the community.”

Olson said Dykes would make baklava, a Greek delicacy, each December and distribute it to the workers and clients at her husband Gary’s dental lab. She home-schooled her children, was active with Calvary Chapel and enjoyed sewing and cooking.

“When she made up her mind to do something, she poured her heart into it,” said Olson.

The Dykes lived in Genoa and Minden before moving to Gardnerville.

Genoa resident Judie Brierly met Tamra and Gary Dykes when they lived in Genoa. She said Tamra was devoted to Gary and their children and loved life.

“She would always make time to make me laugh. You couldn’t remember what your problems were,” said Brierly.

“All anyone would remember was her beautiful smile and those pearly teeth and her laugh.

“That’s her essence. It’s like one of the little lights of the world went out.”

“She was the most devoted mother I’ve ever known,” said Lisa Lekumberry, the who has lived next to the Dykes family for four years and first met them in Genoa. “She really made life look easy, because she did so much.”

Gardnerville resident Mary Darby said church members have rallied for the family, and she noted Tamra’s faith.

“She would really encourage people to pray for the guys that hit her,” Darby said. “She was a tremendously giving person. She’d pray for everyone to have God use (this) for the best.”

Tamra Dykes is survived by her husband Gary; mother, Mary Tierney; sons Benjamin Gary Jr.; daughters Carah and Jenna, all of Gardnerville; brothers Chuck Tierney of Minden and Denny Tierney of Carson City; and sister Brenda Olson of Gardnerville.

The family plans a reception following the service Saturday at the Dykes home.

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