Nevada Trooper Dies After I-15 Crash Near Las Vegas Strip

Posted on: July 30, 2021, 08:14h. 

Last updated on: July 31, 2021, 01:16h.

The Nevada Highway Patrol trooper who was struck by a car driven by a fleeing suspect on Interstate 15 earlier this week has died. He was remembered as a quiet hero by his colleagues.

Nevada Trooper Michah May
Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Michah May, pictured above. May died in the line of duty this week after being struck by a car fleeing the scene of a crime. (Image: Nevada Highway Patrol)

Trooper Micah May, 46, succumbed to his extensive injuries on Thursday. The 13-year highway patrol veteran had been in critical condition at University Medical Center since Tuesday’s incident near the Las Vegas Strip.

The suspect, identified Thursday as Douglas Claiborne, 60, was fatally shot by officers on the highway. Initial reports suggest he was reaching for May’s firearm when other troopers opened fire. Claiborne was also believed to have another weapon with him in the car.

Before the crash, he had stolen a car and led police on a 20-minute chase, local news reports said. It started in North Las Vegas and continued onto Interstate 15, where he drove into May. The impact propelled May through the stolen car’s windshield, reports add.

Initial news reports mistakenly described the suspect as a woman. His identity was confirmed by the local coroner’s office.

May had been outside of his patrol car, placing stop sticks to halt the speeding car. They are designed to penetrate tires, forcing a vehicle to come to a stop.

May’s Dedication Remembered

During his career, May was recognized for his efforts to curb the number of drivers operating under the influence on Nevada freeways. In 2014, he received the Medal of Valor for his courageous actions in the line of duty. His wife and two children survive him.

Trooper May’s heroism exemplified the definition of a silent guardian. His dedication and service will never be forgotten,” Nevada Department of Public Safety Director George Togliatti said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to this grieving family and recognize the unique sacrifice to the State of Nevada.”

State officials ask that contributions be made in May’s memory to the Injured Police Officers Fund.

Claiborne Shot by Police

The Clark County Office of the Coroner/Medical Examiner reported Claiborne died from gunshot wounds to the head and torso. One eyewitness estimated between 20 and 25 shots were fired at Claiborne. The death was ruled a homicide by the coroner’s office.

The shots were fired by state troopers on the highway, based on initial reports. No Las Vegas Metro officers discharged their weapons, the Las Vegas Review-Journal said.

Claiborne’s Reported Drug Use, Criminal Record

Claiborne had a criminal record. He was charged with battery on March 10, 2020, when he spit on a security officer inside The Venetian, according to the Review-Journal. In June, however, the charge was dropped.

The man who hit and killed May has been identified as Douglas Claiborne. Claiborne is pictured above in a booking photo from 2020. (Image: LVMPD)

In 2002 Claiborne was sentenced to 30 days in jail for battery in Hawaii, according to the Review-Journal. Two years later, Claiborne was charged with assault and assault of an officer, making a terror threat, possession of drugs of a prominent danger, and possession of drug paraphernalia, the report said.

He was placed on five years’ probation.

This week, people who knew Claiborne recalled he struggled with methamphetamine (meth) use, the Review-Journal said.

“He had a pretty much lifelong addiction problem with methamphetamine,” Honolulu attorney Victor Bakke was quoted by the newspaper. “He struggled with it for years. He could keep clean and sober for long periods, and then when he relapsed, it would be a very heavy relapse.”

It is unclear if Claiborne’s family will consider civil legal action against the state’s highway patrol for his death.