The man charged in a crash that killed a 13-year-old Henderson boy in March pleaded not guilty Wednesday in District Court.
Jose Marmolejo, 21, who is accused of traveling as fast as 97 mph before losing control of his Ford Mustang and jumping onto a sidewalk where he hit the boy, was indicted in April on one count each of reckless driving, child abuse and neglect or endangerment resulting in substantial bodily harm, court records show.
Rex Patchett was riding his scooter about 5:15 p.m. March 7 in front of Mannion Middle School, near Paradise Hills Drive and Skyline Road, when he was struck. He died at the scene.
A jogger testified last month in a Clark County grand jury proceeding that he had just passed the 13-year-old when he heard “screeching” through his headphones and then witnessed the grim aftermath of the crash.
A pair of other witnesses and the lead Henderson police investigator also testified April 26 in front of the grand jury, according to transcripts released this month.
A motorist said that Marmolejo, who nearly hit his vehicle, sped through a roundabout near Smalley Elementary School in the area.
He told jurors that he saw the car “fishtailing” and making a 360-degree spin on a roundabout.
Another man was parked on his driveway talking on the phone when he said he heard the Mustang approach.
“They were traveling very fast and when people are coming down that road really fast you can hear it too, I mean that they’re coming,” he told jurors. “So that’s kind of what caught my ear first, then I saw them coming.”
He described a “big dust cloud” and seeing a group of four of five “young men” get out of the Mustang and a boy on the ground.
He said he then headed to the scene and that police had arrived in under two minutes.
Henderson police officer Marc Rasmussen told jurors that after the Mustang was seen driving recklessly around the roundabout, it hit a “little speed hump” on the road and the driver never regained control.
“It is known in the area to kids who frequent this road that if you go fast enough you can make a jump right here,” Rasmussen said.
The investigator outlined the car’s path in the neighborhood and the science police used to map it, saying that the car spun and swerved before it jumped on the sidewalk and hit Rex on the passenger side.
Inspecting the car’s back seats, the officer said he spotted Rex’s cellphone in a clear case. It was “wedged in the back that was pretty significantly crushed.”
Marmolejo is out on $5,000 bail and is not allowed to drive, court records show. His attorney, Jess Marchese, declined to comment Wednesday.
A jury trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 10, records show.
Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @rickytwrites. Review-Journal staff writer Katelyn Newberg contributed to this report.