A motorcycle rider involved in Sunday's collision on Highway 50 in Mark Twain has been charged with drunken driving causing two deaths, but other riders say he wasn't at fault.
Nevada Highway Patrol investigators have accused Silver Springs resident Steve Henry, 45, of driving into the middle of the cycle pack, causing his and two other motorcycles to go down.
"He's the one who initially went into the pack and caused the accident," said Trooper Mark Zacha. "But the investigation is still going and there could be other charges on this."
Henry was discharged from Carson-Tahoe Hospital on Tuesday after two days of treatment for cuts and bruises, said friend Rocky Dixon, who narrowly avoided the collision.
"He had road rash all over his body and he got 37 stitches on his head," he said.
Two people died as a result of the 5:45 p.m. crash. Katherine Benitez, 60, died at the scene and Martin James, 47, died of a heart attack Monday morning while doctors were working on a damaged ankle. Both were from Silver Springs.
Thomas Anderson, 67, also of Silver Springs, remained hospitalized at Washoe Medical Center, where he was listed Tuesday in fair condition.
Henry appeared in court Tuesday immediately after arriving in Yerington. A preliminary hearing, where a justice of the peace examines evidence and determines the validity of the charges, was not scheduled, but bail was set at $25,000.
Each charge carries a possible penalty of eight to 20 years in prison.
Dixon and fellow rider Sue Miranda offered a version of the crash which conflicts with highway patrol findings.
"That's bull," Dixon said when told of the charges against Henry. "Steve was in the back when Anderson came up, and Steve hit Martin's back wheel after his bike went down.
"What they are doing to Steve is wrong. They ought to come talk to us and get the real story."
Miranda agreed with Dixon. "Everybody was down before him. That's what put him down."
The riders were heading to Silver Springs from Virginia City, where they had gone after attending a fund-raiser in Carson City for a kindergartner with cerebral palsy.