Jury finds Dayton man guilty in 2004 crosswalk death

A Dayton man was found guilty by a jury Monday for causing an accident that killed a man in a crosswalk in 2004.

Lyon County Deputy District Attorney Steve Rye said the Yerington jury deliberated for about four hours before finding Ronald Shane Sanemeterio, 32, guilty of involuntary manslaughter, reckless driving causing death and driving under the influence of drugs causing death.

Rye said blood taken from Sanemeterio two hours after the accident tested positive for marijuana with four nanograms of marijuana per milliliter of blood.

Under Nevada law, the legal limit is two nanograms.

An expert testified that in order for that amount of marijuana to register in Sanemeterio's blood he'd have to have smoked it between one and 10 hours before the accident.

On April 8, 2004, Paul Leon Dessaussois, 37, a casino worker from Dayton, was waiting to cross Highway 50 East in front of the Red Hawk Casino when a Jeep Cherokee stopped at the crosswalk. Just as Dessaussois crossed in front of the Jeep, a Toyota pickup driven by Sanemeterio slammed into the Cherokee, pushing it into the crosswalk and striking Dessaussois, according to court documents.

Part of Dessaussois' job in the slot department of the Depot Casino was to cross the five-lane highway and pay off cash jackpots at the Red Hawk and Depot casinos during his shift.

He was pronounced dead at the scene. He is survived by a wife and three sons.

Sanemeterio told authorities he was opening a package of beef jerky for his two children when he slammed into the Jeep.

The children, Sanemeterio and the other driver all walked away from the collision unhurt.

The Nevada Highway Patrol investigation noted the accident was so sudden, Sanemeterio didn't have time to apply his brakes.

Sanemeterio, who was never arrested on the charge, was remanded Monday into the custody of the Lyon County Sheriff's Department to await his July 31 sentencing.

Driving under the influence causing death carries a penalty of two to 20 years in prison, reckless driving causing death is one to six years in prison and involuntary manslaughter carries a prison sentence of one to four years.

• Contact reporter F.T. Norton at ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1213.


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