Bond stands for suspect in commuter crash deaths

During an emotional arraignment Tuesday morning, a Kingman man pleaded innocent in Mohave County Superior Court to manslaughter charges in the traffic deaths of four people in Golden Valley.

Daniel Brackney pleaded innocent to four counts of manslaughter, two counts of aggravated assault and misdemeanor extreme DUI.

The collision of Brackney's pickup and a 15-passenger car pool van killed Eric Ruiz, Roy Latimer, John Walker and Dan Zasadni while the four rode to work at Mohave Generating Station in Laughlin, Nev., on Feb.


The vehicles were heading west on state Highway 68 when the collision occurred around 6:15 a.m.

The van flipped into the median after being hit in the rear by the pickup, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety report.

During Tuesday's hearing in Mohave County Superior Court, defense attorney Bill Porter sought to lower his client's bond from $250,000.

Brackney's parents tearfully spoke on their son's behalf, saying he was born and raised in Kingman and has strong ties to the community.

In a packed courtroom, family members of the dead men also spoke, asking Judge Richard Weiss either to not reduce the bond or revoke it for Brackney, 20.

About a half dozen of Ruiz, Latimer and Walker family members, all choking back tears, said if their loved ones could not come home then neither should Brackney, who bowed his head during most of the testimony.

In asking Weiss not to reduce the bond, Chief Deputy Mohave County Attorney Jack Zack also spoke of Brackney's record of 31 traffic, criminal and juvenile convictions.

"There's no doubt that his family loves him," Zack said.

"But there is also no doubt that they can't control him."

Zack said a blood test two hours after the collision revealed an alcohol level of 0.20 in Brackney.

A test four hours after the collision showed a level of 0.162, Zack added.

It is illegal in Arizona to drive with a blood alcohol level above .08.

A witness told investigators Brackney drove the pickup erratically in excess of 100 mph before the collision, Zack said.

Weiss affirmed justice court's $250,000 bond.

Brackney and a passenger were heading east on Highway 68 to Kingman from Laughlin, according to the DPS report.

Brackney stopped the truck briefly and drove back onto Highway 68 heading westbound when the collision occurred near mile marker 16.

A DPS investigation still has not officially estimated Brackney's truck speed.

Investigators ask that additional witnesses contact DPS from 8 a.m.

to 5 p.m.

at 753-5552.

Two other passengers rode in the van heading to the Southern California Edison plant.

Robert Mansfield and Russell Pewsey were taken to University Medical Center in Las Vegas.

Mansfield was treated and released that day and Pewsey three days later.

Neither Brackney nor his passenger were hurt.

The passenger was arrested for misdemeanor warrants.