Plow operator guilty of DUI crash; victim's foot amputated

Mugshot courtesy Washoe County jail
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - A snowplow operator will be sentenced in June 2019 after being convicted of felony DUI for a crash that led the victim to lose a foot.

44-year-old Eric Christiansen was charged with one count of Driving Under the Influence of a Controlled or Prohibited Substance Causing Substantial Bodily Harm after the March 2018 crash. He faces 20 years in prison.

The Nevada Highway Patrol investigation indicated Christiansen was operating a Nevada Department of Transportation snow plow on State Route 431 when he crossed into the oncoming lane, causing the blade of the plow to hit a pickup driven by a Kings Beach man. The victim sustained an open fracture of his left leg and was taken to Renown Regional Medical Center where he had his foot amputated.

The investigation determined Christiansen was under the influence of methamphetamine when the crash occurred.

An NDOT spokesperson says, "He is not still employed (by NDOT). The former employee was arrested and terminated from NDOT employment immediately following failed blood drug test results."

STATEMENT FROM NDOT:

Safety is our top priority. We are dedicated each and every day to building and maintaining the safest roads for Nevada. Any serious injury on Nevada roads is truly a tragedy. That is particularly true when it comes in the course of our dedicated efforts to keep winter roads open and safe for Nevada drivers.

NDOT was fully engaged and cooperative in Washoe County’s investigation.

Nevada Department of Transportation snow plow operators hold Class A CDL commercial driver licenses, following all federal licensing requirements. Plow operators receive continual training on snow plow and other maintenance operations, with NDOT enforcing rigorous and continuing training requirements for plow operators. In-class and in-vehicle training takes place, and NDOT plow operators must be certified on mastery of individual elements of plow operations before operating the plow individually. NDOT plow operators must be recertified every four years.

Nevada Department of Transportation equipment operators hold Class A CDL commercial driver licenses, following federal licensing requirements, and are subject to pre-employment, after-incident and random drug and alcohol testing.