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There are many reasons why motor vehicle collisions can occur in the hours before sunrise. Drivers on the road at that time may be drowsy, and their reactions may be slower as a result. Darkness may make it harder to see other vehicles and the road itself. Or drivers may be lulled into a false sense of security because of the relative lack of other vehicles on the road.

Authorities in North Las Vegas are trying to determine what caused a two-vehicle accident that left an elderly woman dead last week. On Friday morning around 5:45am, an 80-year old woman was driving her 1996 Nissan Maxima east on Lone Mountain Road just south of Los Prados Golf and Country Club. She apparently tried to make a left turn south onto Decatur Boulevard when she was broadsided by a 2007 Chrysler sedan that was coming toward her on Lone Mountain. The woman died approximately three hours after the wreck at University Medical Center. 

Police are still trying to determine the cause of the fatal crash and which driver at fault. The intersection where the victim was hit is regulated by traffic lights. The left turn signal on eastbound Lone Mountain has a protected left turn arrow, but it also allows for turns on a solid green light if no traffic is coming west.

If the woman tried to complete her left turn when the light was a solid green (or red), then she would be guilty of not yielding to oncoming traffic – and the fault would lie with her. However, if the Maxima has a protected left turn arrow, the driver of the Chrysler (a 22-year old Las Vegas resident) would be held responsible for running a red light – and could be named as a defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the victim’s heirs.