Woman to be tried in DUI wreck

Shannon Litz/Nevada Appeal

Shannon Litz/Nevada Appeal

DAYTON - A Dayton judge has determined there was enough evidence to try a 21-year-old woman on five felony counts relating to a suspected drunken driving accident in July that injured three.

Heidi Shellenbarger of Dayton appeared before Justice of the Peace Camille Vecchiarelli during the preliminary hearing in which two of the three victims testified.

According to court documents, Shellenbarger was eastbound on Highway 50 East near the top of Dayton Hill about 5:30 a.m. July 21 when she crossed over the center lane and struck head on a westbound Dodge van.

The van's driver, William Collins, 72, of Silver Springs; his wife, Shirley Collins, 63; and the couple's grandson, Timothy Collins, 23, were all injured.

William Collins, still with a splint and screws holding together his shattered wrist, gave emotional testimony Wednesday in which he described seeing his wife slumped over and unconscious in the aftermath of the near-fatal crash that blocked traffic in both directions for several hours.

Shirley Collins still uses a walker due to a fractured pelvis from the accident, and Timothy Collins had to quit his job because he is unable to lift his arm due to several torn ligaments.

William Collins said he believes he and his wife were saved from death because they were riding in a full-sized van instead of the Ford Festiva they usually drove. He said the family was en route to the hospital because he was scheduled for knee surgery. Their grandson insisted on going, prompting them to take a larger vehicle.

Testimony from a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper Wednesday indicated Shellenbarger had a blood-alcohol content of .08. Initial reports of Shellenbarger being in possession of cocaine have since been amended to indicate she allegedly possessed .36 grams of crushed hydrocodone.

Deputy District Attorney Lynn Rivera said blood tests detected only alcohol in Shellenbarger's system.

Shellenbarger, out on bail, will be arraigned in District Court on Jan. 24.


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