Driver in fatal wreck near Lake Tahoe found, arrested on felony charges |

Driver in fatal wreck near Lake Tahoe found, arrested on felony charges

Kevin MacMillan
Manuel Mejia-Verduzco
Courtesy Washoe County Jail |


An earlier version of this story indicated the four felony charges were for fleeing the scene. In fact, the felony charges are for hit and run — one causing death, and three causing injury. The North Lake Tahoe Bonanza regrets the error.

UPDATE 10 a.m. Jan. 6:

On Friday afternoon, the Nevada Highway Patrol reported the driver who fled the scene — 34-year-old Manuel Mejia-Verduzco — was located at his apartment in Incline Village, where he had reportedly been hiding.

NHP Trooper Dave Gibson said Mejia-Verduzco had injuries to his face and wrist. He also had a broken arm and broken leg, consistent with being in a vehicle accident.

He was treated at Renown Regional Medical Center for his injuries, before being booked Friday evening at Washoe County Jail in Reno.

He is being held on four felony charges of hit and run (one causing death, and three causing injury), and four misdemeanors, including an open container and driving without a license. His bail is set at more than $80,000.

Gibson said while NHP suspects alcohol may have played a factor, considering Mejia-Verduzco was found a day after the incident, it will likely be hard to prove anyone was intoxicated.

Earlier Friday, NHP identified the deceased passenger as Hugo Soto-Barrios, 40, of Incline Village.

On Tuesday, NHP released the names of the three people injured in the Jeep. The driver, Irma Gouadarram, 27, was transported by ground ambulance to Renown after the accident and released Friday morning.

Her passengers — Anna Acosta, 38, and Norea Maria Pelayo-Garcia, 45 — were transported by helicopter with major injuries to Renown. Both were still in serious condition Tuesday, but are recovering from their injuries.


INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — One person is dead and three others were seriously injured in an early evening New Year’s Day wreck near North Lake Tahoe, an official said.

An unidentified man was driving a 1998 silver Isuzu Rodeo on Nevada Highway 431 between mile markers 3 and 4 near Incline Village when he crossed into oncoming traffic and struck a 2003 blue Jeep Liberty, said NHP Trooper Dave Gibson.

The incident occurred at about 6:15 p.m.

The Rodeo’s lone passenger was transported by helicopter with life-threatening injuries to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno, where he was later died.

That person’s name has yet to be released, pending next-of-kin notification.

All three occupants in the Liberty were transported — two by helicopter — to Renown with serious injures, Gibson said. An update on their conditions was unknown Friday morning.

The driver of the Rodeo fled the scene on foot, Gibson said, and had not been located as of 8:30 a.m. Friday.

Witness reports indicate the driver was bleeding and had cuts to his face, Gibson said. The extent of his injuries was unknown.

The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office RAVEN helicopter was flying above the Incline Village area between roughly 8:30 and 10 p.m. Thursday, searching for the suspect.

On Friday morning, NHP released an image of Edgar Guzman-Barrios, identified as the registered owner of the Rodeo. He was considered a person of interest.

Troopers connected with Guzman-Barrios on Friday, according to a noon statement.

“After cooperating with an interview with law enforcement officers, Mr. Guzman-Barrios provided important proof that cleared him of any involvement in the crash,” troopers said. “NHP is confident that Mr. Guzman-Barrios was not inside the vehicle when it caused the accident on Mt. Rose.”

The incident remains under investigation, and troopers are looking into other evidence to help locate the driver.

According to NHP, empty beer containers were found in the Rodeo, leading troopers to believe alcohol may have played a factor.

NHP Trooper Karen Garretson is investigating the incident. Anyone who may have information should contact her at 775-689-4625 or regarding case number NHP-150100100.

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