Driver in fatal crash charged with DUI, drug possession

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Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter

A California charged with causing the fatal crash on U.S. 95A south of Fernley on Dec. 14 has been arrested on DUI and drug possession charges.

According to the Nevada Highway Patrol, Stephen Murray, 54, of Alta, Calif., was booked at the Lyon County Jail in Yerington on charges of DUI drugs with death, possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana, and driving left of center. The NHP also reported the results of a legal blood draw are pending.

The NHP charges that a 2001 black C-Class Mercedes Benz driven by Murray was traveling northbound on the highway when the vehicle crossed over the center yellow lines and veered left of center in a no passing zone. The left front of the Mercedes struck the left front of a green Honda Civic driven by Stephen Johnson, 25, of Silver Springs. Johnson was traveling southbound and approaching the Mercedes Benz when the crash occurred. The NHP said Johnson died at the scene, and Murray was taken to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno with nonlife threatening injuries. All occupants were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash.

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A white Chrysler PT Cruiser driven by Michaela Cresta, 21, also of Silver Springs, was traveling southbound behind the green Honda Civic and ran over debris from the crash. He was able to avoid striking either of the two vehicles.

The NHP said a witness to the incident was on the phone with NHP dispatchers when the crash occurred. The NHP said the witness was calling in to report a “reckless driver” in the Mercedes.

The NHP said Murray was released later Wednesday from the hospital and was placed under arrest.

Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Karen Garretson is investigating this crash. Anyone who may have witnessed this incident or who may have any information related to this crash is encouraged to contact Garretson at 775-689-4625 or kgarretson@dps.state.nv.us

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