LAS VEGAS – Two troopers with the Nevada State Police (NSP) were killed Thursday after an impaired driver struck them while they were assisting another motorist on the side of the road. The troopers were later identified as Sgt. Michael Abbate and Trooper Alberto Felix, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The troopers stopped about 3:23 a.m. to check on a driver who appeared to be sleeping in his car on Interstate 15 in the area of D Street, according to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD), which is investigating the crash.
Not long after they stopped, police said a white Chevrolet HHR collided with the troopers and then fled. The driver was later found and arrested. He was identified as 46-year-old Jemarcus Williams. Police say he was arrested on multiple charges, including DUI above the legal limit resulting in death, KTNV reported.
Williams was booked about 9 a.m. Thursday at the Clark County Detention Center.
Court records show the driver has a long history of traffic violations in the Las Vegas Valley, including a prior DUI arrest.
NSP announced the horrific news Thursday on X, saying, “We are deeply saddened to report that two Nevada State Troopers conducting a motorist assist earlier this morning in Las Vegas were struck by a vehicle and have been confirmed deceased.”
We are deeply saddened to report that 2 Nevada State Troopers conducting a motorist assist earlier this morning in Las Vegas were struck by a vehicle and have been confirmed deceased. The investigation is currently on-going and being conducted by LVMPD.
— Nevada State Police (@NVStatePolice) November 30, 2023
One trooper died at the scene, LVMPD Deputy Chief Branden Clarkson said, and the other was pronounced dead at University Medical Center, Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
A search for the suspect’s vehicle led police to an apartment complex near J Street and Monroe Avenue, where Williams was taken into custody.
According to NSP, Abbate joined the department in 2013 and was promoted to sergeant in November. Felix joined in 2019 after serving in the U.S. Air Force.
Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo — who formerly served more than two decades with LVMPD before becoming the Clark County Sheriff and subsequently the state’s governor last year — released a statement.
“I’m profoundly saddened by the deaths of two of our brave Nevada State Troopers, who were killed early this morning in Las Vegas,” Lombardo said. “This is a devastating loss for Nevada law enforcement, the city of Las Vegas, and our entire state. As we mourn these troopers, we will never forget their bravery, courage, and sacrifice.”
State and local law enforcement escorted the bodies of the two troopers in a procession along I-15 starting at about 8:30 a.m. The route began at Washington Avenue, went south to Charleston Boulevard, and ended at the Clark County Coroner’s office, KTNV reported.
“The lives of these two @NVStatePolice Highway Patrol Troopers will never be forgotten,” LVMPD posted on social media – X. “Rest now, we have the watch from here.”
The lives of these two @NVStatePolice Highway Patrol Troopers will never be forgotten.
Rest now, we have the watch from here. 💙 pic.twitter.com/eQHojVPTdo
— LVMPD (@LVMPD) November 30, 2023
Court records revealed that police in Nevada have ticketed Williams for about a dozen traffic violations since 2007. He was also charged with DUI in Las Vegas in 2007 and later pleaded no contest. During the next three years, he was caught driving without a license on four occasions, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
In 2020, he pleaded no contest to failing to yield the right of way. Las Vegas Municipal Court reduced the charge to a parking citation.
In May 2023, Williams was cited for driving with expired license plates. He pleaded no contest in the case.