‘He shouldn’t have been driving in the first place,’ mother of victim killed in a suspected DUI crash says

Marisol Meza, 24, was one of two victims killed in a crash on Saturday, May 7, 2022, that the N ...

Marisol Meza did not own a car and would often use Uber or public transportation to make her way across town.

When she was out with friends, she was known to make sure she only rode in cars driven by designated, sober drivers, her mother, Eden Rios-Lopez, said. “She was always careful about that.”

Rios-Lopez is not only devastated, but perplexed that her daughter, 24, and her boyfriend died in a crash on Saturday evening that the Nevada Highway Patrol blamed on a suspected impaired driver.

“I don’t even know why my daughter would get in a vehicle with somebody like that,” Rios-Lopez told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Monday in a tearful phone interview. “He shouldn’t have been driving in the first place.”

Meza and Darren Moore, 27, were killed in a five-vehicle crash on Interstate 15, near a U.S. Highway 95 flyover ramp, the Clark County coroner’s office said Monday.

Marik Macklin, who was driving a Toyota Camry carrying the couple and two other passengers, was booked into the Clark County Detention Center on counts including DUI resulting in death, and DUI causing substantial bodily harm, the patrol said.

Macklin, 26, who suffered serious but survivable injuries, also was cited for having an open alcohol container, driving with expired tags and not having a Nevada driver’s license, Las Vegas Justice Court records show.

His bail was set at $200,000 on Sunday, and should he post bond, he was required to submit to high-level monitoring house arrest, and barred from driving, court logs show. It was not immediately clear if he had hired a lawyer who could speak on his behalf. A copy of his arrest report had not been released Monday.

Troopers said he was speeding down a high occupancy vehicle lane when hit an impact attenuator, which is designed to cushion crashes.

Meza and Moore, who were thrown from the car’s backseat, died at University Medical Center, where the other two injured passengers also were taken, as was the driver of another one of the vehicles, who was treated for minor injuries.

The grieving mother said she has learned that the group had left a pool and that Meza and Moore were on their way to their apartment near downtown Las Vegas.

“It’s just a tragedy that her life was cut so short,” Rios-Lopez said from her home in east Texas. “I hope he has to pay,” she said about Macklin.

When Meza was 12, the family moved to a small town near Houston to escape what she described as rising crime and worsening public schools, the mother said.

“I thought it was time to kind of get out of there,” she added.

But about three years ago, Meza moved back to Las Vegas to explore her “roots.”

She enjoyed traveling, and wanted to live out her youth before settling down. She had planned to go to school to become a physician, her mother said.

“I’m gonna go out and live my life,” Meza would tell her mother. Still, Rios-Lopez kept constant track of her, reminding her to be careful.

The sudden death of her daughter has shaken Rios-Lopez, who said she was still trying to process it. Having to raise funeral funds and the difficulties of planning a funeral from out of state has compounded her pain, she said.

But Rios-Lopez will fondly remember the young woman whose smile was the first thing anyone would notice.

“She was just a beautiful person,” she said. “It’s just a tragedy.”

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @rickytwrites.