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Former UNLV basketball recruit Zaon Collins to plead guilty in fatal crash, victim’s family upset with reduced charges

By Caroline Bleakley,


LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Former UNLV basketball recruit Zaon Collins waived his right to a preliminary hearing Thursday morning, more than two years after he was accused in a deadly DUI crash.

Based on a proposed plea deal, Collins will likely not serve more than 90 days in Clark County Detention Center and that is leaving the victim’s family feeling helpless.

THC was found in Collins’ blood following the Dec. 2020 crash that killed 52-year-old Eric Echevarria. At the time of the crash, Collins was 19 and driving nearly 90 mph in a 35 mph zone near S. Fort Apache and Blue Diamond roads, Las Vegas Metropolitan police said.
Zaon Collins and his attorney Frank Kocka appear in Las Vegas Justice Court on June 1, 2023. (KLAS)

Collins, who was facing felony charges of DUI and reckless driving resulting in death, appeared in Las Vegas Justice Court where his attorney Frank Kocka told the court Collins intends to plead guilty to one felony count of reckless driving, and one misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter which are reduced charges. That will happen when the case moves to District Court.
Ann Marie Echevarria held a vigil for her husband Eric in April 2021. (KLAS)

Ann Marie Echevarria, the victim’s wife, spoke with the 8 News Now Investigators and said she doesn’t feel justice is being served in this case.

“It’s a done deal. There’s nothing I can do about it,” she said. “There’s nothing to talk about.”
Eric Echevarria, 52, was killed in the Dec. 2020 crash. (Credit: LVMPD)

The crash happened on Dec. 30, 2020, but there were significant delays as Collins’ attorneys worked to dismiss the DUI charge against Collins disputing if the amount of THC in his system even had an impact on him since it was only 1 nanogram above the legal limit.

ONLY ON 8: Surveillance video shows UNLV basketball recruit’s car moments before fatal crash

A grand jury declined to indict him on the felony DUI charge but the Clark County District Attorney’s Office continued to pursue it.

Under the proposed plea deal, Collins would serve three months for the misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charge and prosecutors have indicated they are not opposed to him doing probation on the felony reckless driving charge.

Ann Marie Echevarria does have a lawsuit suit filed against Collins that seeks punitive damages for the loss of her husband.

Collins is scheduled to appear in District Court on June 8. He is currently on house arrest.

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