LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Metro Police confirmed with 8 News Now Tuesday that its Traffic Bureau Captain Nick Farese, had been relieved of duty pending the outcome of an investigation. This means he is still employed and getting paid, but he is no longer allowed to do the job he was previously doing.
Metro sources say all of this is over Farese’s handling of at least one DUI crash. Retired police sergeant, Richard Strader, told 8 News Now his contacts in the department say it could have something to do with a delayed blood test in the fatal DUI crash that happened on May 30 on Granite Ridge Drive south of Grey Feather Drive, near Flamingo Road and Town Center Drive. The driver who is accused of causing the wreck is 53-year-old Scott Gragson. He’s the grandson of former Las Vegas Mayor Oran Gragson.
“I know that there’s been some turmoil within the traffic bureau,” said Richard Strader, Ret. Sgt. of Metro’s Fatal Detail. “The blood draw had taken an extremely long time to get.”
8 News Now learned Gragon’s first blood test showed a blood alcohol content of .147. Gragson is facing three felony counts of DUI and three felony counts of reckless driving.
“The blood draw had taken an extremely long time to get,” Strader said.
According to state law, law enforcement officers are supposed to conduct a blood draw within two hours from receiving the 9-1-1 call because it’s the blood draw that is used in court. But according to an arrest report, Gragson’s first blood draw didn’t happen until three and a half hours after it was reported.
“When you’re talking about an impaired driver with a crash, or with a crash where there’s a death, the clock is ticking,” Strader said. “There’s really no reason for it to go too far past the two hours.”
Metro Police told 8 News NOW there was wasn’t a lapse in the investigation, and attributed the later blood draw to the location of the scene, having to do medical transports, and a computer system issue.
The department said in a statement, “regardless of those factors it is still a lawful blood draw and does not remove the ability to determine the level of intoxication.”
While questions still remain regarding Farese’s leave, Strader says it’s important for the family of the deceased to get answers.
“The families of the deceased and the community deserve to know exactly what happened,” Strader said.