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Delay granted in prosecution of Lake Mead boat crash suspect

Updated August 16, 2023 - 6:06 pm

Prosecutors are delaying filing formal charges against a man accused of causing a fatal boat crash that killed two people at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

“Your honor, we’re going to need significant further investigation in this case before reaching a filing decision,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Eric Bauman said during a court hearing Wednesday.

Paul Robinson, 57, of Henderson, was arrested Saturday on charges of homicide by a vessel, operation of a vessel while intoxicated and improperly operating a vessel, court records show. Bauman asked for a delay of more than 100 days before filing a criminal complaint, which would formally charge Robinson in connection with the crash.

Justice of the Peace Joe Bonaventure ordered Robinson, who has been released from custody on $20,000 bail, to appear in court again on Dec. 13.

The Nevada Department of Wildlife first announced it was investigating the crash on Monday.

After Wednesday’s hearing, Bauman said more investigation is needed because the report prosecutors received was “very slim.” He said authorities did not perform a blood test on Robinson until about five hours after the crash.

The Clark County coroner’s office identified the two people killed in the crash as 42-year-old Stacia Gardiner and 48-year-old Terry Farris. The crash happened about 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Callville Bay boat ramp.

Doug Nielsen, a spokesman for the Department of Wildlife, said game wardens with the state agency were called to the scene of the crash by rangers with the National Park Service. He said that game wardens had to drive to the scene from the Las Vegas Valley but that the first warden arrived “fairly quickly, given the circumstances.”

A spokesperson with the National Park Service declined to answer questions about when the crash was reported and when rangers notified the game wardens, citing the ongoing investigation.

Nielsen said game wardens have “significant involvement” in enforcing boating regulations on Lake Mead, but that they share patrolling duties with the park rangers and occasionally agencies from Arizona.

“It’s not uncommon for us to take the lead on the boat accidents,” he said. “We have a few more people available to us.”

While waiting for his court hearing on Wednesday, Robinson shielded his face using his hands and a piece of paper. Robinson and his defense attorney, Thomas Ericsson, both declined to comment after the hearing.

The judge noted that Robinson has been identified as a veteran. As conditions of his bail, he was ordered not to pilot a boat and to stay out of trouble and undergo alcohol monitoring, court records show.

“The state is requesting this delay. However, the case is not over. These are very serious charges that you’re facing,” Bonaventure said, adding that Robinson needs to appear for future hearings.

“Yes sir,” Robinson replied.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240.

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