A Las Vegas man has been arrested, accused of being the minivan driver whose passenger fell out a window while leaning to slap a bicyclist, police said.
Both the passenger and the bicyclist died, and the driver did not stop.
The Clark County Coroner identified the bicyclist as Michelle Weissman, 56, and the passenger as Giovanni Medina Barajas, 20. Friends told the Review Journal that Weissman had been a front-desk manager at the Eastside Cannery casino.
The arrested man is Rodrigo Cruz, 22, said the Las Vegas Metro Police Department. He faces charges of open murder, failure to stop at the scene of an accident and violating a condition of parole.
“Open murder” is a standard charge in Nevada, indicating a homicide that can be prosecuted as first-degree murder, second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter.
Witnesses to the assault, around 7:30 a.m. Sunday, said that the minivan was one of three vehicles driving recklessly on Hollywood Boulevard, a thoroughfare in a residential area on Las Vegas’ east edge.
They said the van veered into the southbound bike lane and the passenger leaned out to take a swipe at two pedestrians on a sidewalk, but missed. He then tried again with the bicyclist, Weissman, and connected. She was thrown to the ground; he fell out the van’s window and hit his head on a light post.
The Las Vegas Sun reported that, though the minivan continued without stopping, another of the vehicles returned to the scene. Its occupants, three young women, reportedly told police that they and the men in the van were among a group that had been drinking that morning on a hillside near Lake Mead Boulevard.
When police went to Cruz’s house, he denied having veered into the bike lane and he said he kept driving after Medina Barajas fell out because he didn’t think anyone had been hurt, the Sun said, citing the arrest report.
He also said he was afraid of getting in trouble because he was on parole after serving prison time for a 2016 armed robbery.
Source: Orange County Register