LAS VEGAS -- Nearly 20 months after a DUI crash took the life of a young Las Vegas woman, the drunk driver responsible is about to be sentenced.
Kevin Miranda was 18 when he killed honor student Angela Peterson. But Peterson's parents say Miranda is not the only one who should be brought to justice. They allege that police officers contributed to their daughter's death.
From the very beginning, Peterson's parents have wanted to know who provided the booze to Miranda, and now they have their answer. From what the 8 News NOW I-Team has been able to track down, it is abundantly clear that Miranda spent that fateful night drinking at a party attended by several employees of the Clark County School District Police Department, as well as an unknown number of teenagers.
Frank and Linda Peterson's daughter would now be 25-years-old if she had not been driving home one morning in November of 2009. At the intersection of Rainbow Boulevard and Flamingo Road, Kevin Miranda blew through a red light and plowed his truck into Angela's car. She was killed, and in a way, so were her parents.
"(It) destroyed our life. He took away what we wake up in the morning for," said Linda Peterson. "You go through that first night all over again -- it never stops. The doorbell ringing, the police being there, the coroner being there. It's a never-ending nightmare."
One reason the Peterson's have been unable to move past the tragedy is the lack of remorse by Miranda. On the night he was arrested, police say he was joking and laughing in jail about what had just happened. Even now, his Facebook page advises that it's a waste of time to overanalyze the past -- "Leave the pieces on the floor and move the 'F' on," Miranda says.
But the Peterson's are also haunted by knowing someone supplied alcohol to Miranda, and now they know, thanks to anonymous tips and a detailed letter sent to their attorney, Marc Cook, and to anti-DUI crusader Sandy Heverly.
"You find out that Kevin Miranda and his 16-year-old girlfriend attended this party where they were provided alcohol. Not only provided, but provided by police officers -- the CCSD police officers. Drinking with the officers," said Heverly.
The letter says a dispatcher for the school police hosted the annual holiday party at her home. Flyers for the party were posted inside school police headquarters, advising that, "of course beer pong" would be part of the festivities. Police dispatcher Rebecca Wamsley also held a birthday party the same night for her 17-year-old daughter, which meant cops and teens were partying together.
According to the tipster, Miranda drank several shots of booze with police Sgt. Roberto Morales and played beer pong with officers. Miranda was visibly intoxicated when he left the party.
At the scene of the accident, which is a mere 3.9 miles from Wamsley's home, he admitted to police he had at least drank four shots of Jack Daniel's. In the truck with Miranda was his girlfriend, the 16-year-old daughter of another dispatcher for the school police.
"This kid was drinking with cops, playing beer pong with cops, and left. He is obviously under 21. His 16-year-old girlfriend at the time, clearly (is under 21), and the party was for someone under 21," said attorney Mark Cook. "He left right past them after drinking with them, got in the car, and killed Angela."
According to the letter and another source currently working for the school police, a cover up was instituted. All copies of the party flyer were ordered destroyed. The sergeant in charge of police dispatchers, Brian Nebecker, allegedly told his employees to keep quiet. When Metro investigators came to ask about the rumors of underage drinking, no one at CCSD police could remember seeing Miranda at the party or seeing any minors drinking.
Sgt. Morales and Sgt. Nebecker were both promoted to lieutenant. Repeated attempts to get a comment from Chief of Police Phil Arroyo and other officers were denied. In a statement, Chief Arroyo said, "As you know we are not at liberty to discuss personnel matters. Furthermore, we are not able to discuss dispositions of pending or settled civil litigation regarding any of our employees. The Clark County School District Police Department fully cooperated with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department's investigation."
Arroyo and Morales both said the incident is an internal personnel matter and that any comment must come from Las Vegas Metropolitan Police.
"It wasn't an investigation into who in addition to Miranda was responsible for Angela's death. It was an investigation into how fast we can hide what happened before anybody knows we were involved," said Cook. "Instead, they threw all the fliers out and told everybody to shut up."
But Cook was able to confirm essential facts. After receiving the letter, he sent a letter to Wamsley's home and told her she could face consequences because of the party. An investigator for Wamsley's insurance company needed less than two weeks to conclude that Miranda was there drinking. The company agreed to pay the maximum amount allowed by the homeowner's policy, $300,000, no questions asked.
The irony of school cops drinking with school kids is not lost on the Peterson's.
"These are the people protecting your children. These are the ones responsible for their safety," said Frank Peterson.
"If the CCSD police had done any one of 10 things differently, Angela would be alive. I know it kills Frank and Linda to know that the people who could have stopped this from happening not only got off scott free, but that they have been promoted for covering it up," said Cook.
A spokesperson for Metro said contrary to what school police said, Metro did not "clear" the district cops for complicity. However, they have no witness who will confirm, on the record, that any officers were drinking with Miranda.
Furnishing alcohol to a minor is a misdemeanor charge at most and Metro investigators were not informed that the insurance company paid off the claim before one had even been filed.
It took Miranda 13 months to decided to plead guilty. He will be sentenced Wednesday.
Several people were at this party and saw what happened. If you have any information, email Chief Investigative Reporter George Knapp.
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