Driver May Face Charges in Death of Lynwood Girl


Calling its decision “extremely difficult,” the Nevada Highway Patrol said Monday that it will seek involuntary manslaughter charges against a Lynwood assistant coach who was at the wheel when a van carrying her girls basketball team crashed, killing an 11-year-old player.

Trooper Steve Harney said the Clark County district attorney’s office will decide within the next two days whether to charge Assistant Coach Michelle Allen in connection with the accident.

Allen, 32, of Paramount, was the driver Saturday morning when the team van spun out of control on Interstate 15 about 12 miles north of Las Vegas, authorities said. Traffic investigators determined that Allen--who was chauffeuring the team to a weekend tournament in Las Vegas--had fallen asleep at the wheel.


Harney said Allen apparently awakened in time to try to bring the van under control. Her efforts flipped the vehicle, in which only one of the 12 passengers was wearing a seat belt, the trooper said. Tracey Myricks, a fifth-grader at Lynwood’s Mark Twain Elementary School and a rookie member of the Lynwood Lady Knights, died Saturday of internal injuries at University Medical Center in Las Vegas after several hours of surgery.

Nine teammates, along with Coach Ellis Barfield and Allen, were injured in the crash. Two players--Khaleah Smith, 12, and Naishun Jenkin, 14--were still in intensive care Monday at the hospital where Myricks died. Smith was listed in critical condition, and Jenkin’s condition was listed as serious.

Harney said the decision to seek charges was based on the fatality, along with the failure to ensure that the passengers were wearing seat belts, as required by Nevada law.

“It’s a sad situation,” Harney added. “I’ve watched both coaches, and they seem to be very caring and loving, not just as coaches, but almost as parents--this team is more like a family. . . . But we have to go by what the law says. So we’re going to ask for the warrant and let the courts decide.”

Hospital officials said Allen was treated for injuries sustained in the crash but is no longer a patient at the hospital. Harney added that Allen has stayed in Las Vegas since the accident, remaining at the bedside of the injured girls.