Trooper pleads guilty in crash that killed four
LAS VEGAS (AP) – A former Nevada Highway Patrol trooper pleaded guilty Thursday to five counts of felony reckless driving in an on-duty crash that killed four people and left a pregnant teen critically injured in February.
“This case is resolved,” defense lawyer Steve Wolfson said as Joshua Corcran, 28, admitted driving 113 mph in a state police cruiser that slammed into the back of a Cadillac on Interstate 15 just south of Las Vegas.
The crash killed four illegal Mexican immigrants who lived and worked in the St. George, Utah, area, and badly injured a pregnant teenage girl who spent three days in a coma. Corcran has recovered from a broken wrist.
The girl, Cecilia Lopez Cruz, 15, suffered pelvis, back and internal injuries. She is recuperating with family members in southwest Utah, and her unborn child is healthy, said her family’s lawyer, Eva Garcia-Mendoza. She said authorities were mistaken when they reported the girl was carrying twins.
The child’s father, 21-year-old Victor De La Cruz-De Leon, was driving the Cadillac and was killed, along with Cruz’s 21-year-old sister, Reymunda Lopez-Vazquez; a 42-year-old relative, Jose Sanchez Lopez; and a 19-year-old family friend, Jose Roberto Mejia Lang. All were from a town in the Mexican state of Chiapas.
“We believe this is a fair and just result,” Garcia-Mendoza said of Corcran’s plea, which prosecutor Bruce Nelson said should get the former trooper prison time. “The family believes that justice has been done.”
Corcran was dismissed from the Highway Patrol last month after agreeing to plead guilty. He remained free on house arrest pending sentencing Aug. 8 when he faces a sentence of probation up to 30 years in prison.
Corcran declined comment as he left Clark County District Court with his wife, Jennifer, and other family members.
“This was just a blink-of-an-eye in his life that caused this horrific accident,” said Wolfson, a Las Vegas city councilman who said he would seek probation for Corcran. “If he could go back in time and change things, he would.”
Las Vegas police, who investigated the crash determined the emergency lights and siren on the NHP cruiser were not in use, and that Corcran was neither chasing a vehicle nor answering an emergency call when he hit the Cadillac, which was traveling below the speed limit.
Police said Corcran was hurrying home for dinner.
Garcia-Mendoza also is handling a federal civil lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas, seeking unspecified damages from the state of Nevada, the Nevada Highway Patrol, NHP administrators and Corcran on behalf of Cruz, the child due to be born in September, and 17 other relatives of those killed.
Garcia-Mendoza said she has been in settlement talks with the state attorney general’s office.