Driving while wealthy
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
August 22, 2005
Well-to-do woman ODs on Xanax - falls asleep - runs over
and kills four people at a bus stop - DA refuses to prosecute.
Five days later, she sings at a karaoke bar.
LAS VEGAS - Clark County District Attorney David Roger
has been raising eyebrows even before he was elected. Today, he's
immersed in a controversy that shaking the DA's office to its
Some background. In 2002, Roger accepted $50,000 for his
political campaign raised by embattled Crazy Horse strip club owner Rick Rizzolo, this while Metro Police had
two cases pending prosecution against employees of Rizzolo's business
waiting on the outgoing DA's desk.
Outgoing DA Stu Bell had also raised eyebrows when he refused to
prosecute Rizzolo's employees following the 1995 beating death of Scott
On May 24, 2001, police
submitted a request for prosecution of four Rizzolo employees
charged with robbery, battery and conspiracy to commit robbery and
coercion in the case of Kenneth Kirkpatrick. Bell took no action. On
October 4, 2001, LV Metro asked the DA to prosecute yet-unnamed
employees of the Crazy Horse for the Sept. 20, 2001 attempted murder of
. True to form, Bell did nothing. He
was too busy running for a seat on the district court bench.
In 2002, after the election, I interviewed outgoing DA Bell and asked
him what happened to the Fau and Henry cases. He only responded to the
question about the Henry case by saying, "There is probable cause to prosecute, but I
will let my successor make that decision." His successor was David
Roger who, as his first order of business after being sworn in, dropped
all actions against Rizzolo including the Henry case,
lack of response that troubles dedicated street cops.
Fast forward. On March 14 of this year, 34 year old heiress
Schmidt's SUV struck and killed four people at a bus stop. A
test showed Schmidt had 100 nanograms per milliliter of Xanax in
her system about an hour after the crash. Those levels indicated
Schmidt had been taking more than 10 milligrams of the drug each day --
over twice what was prescribed. Despite those
findings, Schmidt has not been criminally charged by DA Roger.
This raised the ire of the Las Vegas
Review-Journal that published a lengthy
story about the sad case in last Sunday's edition.
Prior to the Review Journal filing a lawsuit
to obtain Schmidt's toxicology reports, something that should have been
public record but was being withheld, the story was fading into
oblivion with the only explanation of the event coming from the lips of
"While other experts may disagree, our very
well-respected criminalists from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police
Department said Veronica Schmidt had a therapeutic
amount of Xanax in her
system," he told reporters.
10 milligrams was
a "therapeutic amount?"
In contrast to Roger's unqualified opinion, Dr. Dale
Carrison, director of emergency service at University Medical Center
told the Review-Journal,
a huge amount of the drug. Nobody would prescribe that much to take.
We're talking about a human being, not an elephant. It's a wonder she
could get in the car and drive." "Based on what the expert toxicologist
said, I would prosecute her. What she's done is drug abuse."
Dr. Russell Clark, an emergency room doctor at Mountain View Hospital,
says, "You should not drive, you should not drink, you should not
mix it with any other medications that will make you sleepy."
In the face of such expert opinion, Roger is still unmoved.
Roger Veronica Schmidt
This is the
same David Roger who granted immunity to
heroin dealer Peter Sheridan in trade for testifying in the Binion
case. Sheridan admitted in open court to peddling poison, but because
David Roger intensely wanted to win the trial at any cost -- then
catapult the victory into a successful run for DA -- he let one our
town's biggest slime balls walk out of the courtroom a free man
after bragging that he sold Ted Binion a dozen balloons of heroin the
night before he died. However, even after Roger's best efforts, the
Nevada Supreme Court later overturned the murder convictions of both
Sandra Murphy and her co-defendant, Rick Tabish, and both were
acquitted of the murder charges Roger worked so hard to establish.
Now, David Roger is granting "immunity" to Veronica Schmidt. He and
some of his staff are straining to find excuses not to do their job --
one prosecutor going so far as to say a gust of wind may have blown the
SUV into the bus stop shelter.
Who is Veronica Schmidt? On March 21, KTNV TV News
reporter Andy Roesgen scooped all other media by catching Schmidt
singing in a northwest Vegas karaoke bar just five days after she
killed the four innocent. people. When he asked her how she feels, she
replied, "I'm devastated. I wish I could take it back and I'm very
sorry." Then she reportedly sang another song.
A visit to the county recorder's web site
revealed more about the woman. Thirty legal records appeared in
her name including thirteen real estate trust deeds including two
for property on the upscale Green Valley Parkway, and two for
property on the lush Green Valley Country Club. A further search
revealed a Veronica A. Schmidt listed as having an
address in Incline Village, Nevada, once the Lake Tahoe enclave of
Steve Wynn and Michael Milken, Nevada's most expensive neighborhood.
Unlike the Jessica
Williams case where the young woman was vigorously prosecuted by
David Roger and given an 18 to 48 year
sentence for smoking marijuana, falling asleep, and running over six
teenagers, Veronica Schmidt is not being
prosecuted by the same district attorney for taking Xanax, falling
asleep, and killing four persons at a bus stop. The difference between
Williams and Schmidt is obvious; personal wealth and family
connections. Williams was poor, and Schmidt is a woman of means.
However, because of action taken by the Review-Journal, this may not be the
end of the story. Roger may be forced to prosecute Schmidt because of
the public outcry.
Because of their lawsuit, the RJ turned
up the actual Xanax prescription for
Veronica Schmidt. It indicates that only 2 Milligrams were to be taken
twice daily. But Schmidt had 10 Milligrams in her system an hour after
she fell asleep (or passed out) and crashed into the bus stop! Even
with this information in hand, Roger did nothing. And why did the RJ have to sue to get this
And, let's not forget, the kids run over by Jessica
Williams were mainly white and middle class, while the three kids and
woman killed by Schmidt were poor and Mexican. I hope I'm wrong about
Roger's motivation, because if not, this is really sick.
I don't want to tell the DA how to do his job, but in this case someone
must. Its obvious that David Roger did not research or chose to ignore
the laws pertaining to the dispensing of controlled substances, and
that he did not even interview the dispensing pharmacist to ascertain
whether Schmidt was advised of the consequences of taking more than the
NRS 453.411 Unlawful use of controlled substance;
penalties. 1. It is unlawful for a person knowingly to use or be under
the influence of a controlled substance except in accordance with a
lawfully issued prescription.
NAC 639.707 Counseling of patients: Duties of pharmacist or
intern pharmacist; documentation. (NRS 639.070, 639.266)
1. Except as otherwise provided in this section, a
pharmacist... shall verbally provide a patient... with information
about each prescription drug... dispensed to the patient that: (b) The
form of dosage, dose, route of administration and duration of drug
therapy; (c) The intended use of the drug... and expected responses
from that use; (d) Any special directions and precautions for the...
use of the drug... by the patient; (e) Any common severe side effects,
interactions and contraindications that may occur, recommendations to
avoid these side effects, interactions or contraindications, and the
action required if they occur; (k) Any other information which, in the
professional judgment of the pharmacist... is necessary to assure the
safe and effective use of the drug.
5. A pharmacist... is not required to counsel a patient pursuant
to this section if the patient... refuses to accept the counseling.
6. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 9, the
pharmacist... shall, at the time that counseling is provided or
refused: (a) Initial by his own hand a written document that is
maintained at the pharmacy to record whether counseling was provided to
or refused by a patient; or (b) Enter an initial or other identifying
mark onto a record in a computerized system used by the pharmacy for
recording information concerning prescriptions to indicate whether
counseling was provided to or refused by a patient.
The above is a no brainer. Schmidt obviously violated her prescription,
then went for a drive. What Veronica Schmidt did was clearly a felony
under NRS 453.411. However, did DA David Roger even interview the
pharmacist to find out if Schmidt was counseled about the potential
dangers of abusing Xanax and operating a motor vehicle, or find out if
she refused the counseling? The answer is obvious. Roger, true to form
when it comes to prosecuting the wealthy, once again did nothing.
In Sin City, its now OK to drive while wealthy, kill
innocent people, and suffer no consequences.
The writing's on the wall. In my opinion, DA David Roger
selects cases he will prosecute and those he will not based on
political considerations. Its often rumored he has higher political
If he continues to take no action in this case, the blood of the four
persons killed by Veronica Schmidt will be on David Roger's hands.