Unexplained crash leaves one dead


Photo by Roxanne Garcia, special to the MLN

A call came into Mesquite Dispatch at approximately 12:49 p.m. Tuesday of a vehicle driving into the pond at the corner of Redd Hills and Pioneer Boulevard.

Inside the vehicle was 77 year old Jim McMurray, of Mesquite, who had driven northbound over Grapevine, failed to stop at the sign and maintained speed over the curb and grass into the pond. When the vehicle came to a stop, it had spun around facing the south, the opposite direction.

Witnesses on scene said that McMurray was traveling at a moderate speed when descending from the hill on the Grapevine overpass. Two of those witnesses, Blair Gibson and Joe Vasquez, jumped into the frigid pond water in an attempt to save McMurray, but were unsuccessful.


Photo of Jim McMurray, provided by his family to the MLN.

The weather overall made it a difficult day for rescuers, as the winds and rains made temperatures feel even colder.

“It was extremely dangerous for them to try and save him,” said Lt. MaQuade Chesley with the Mesquite Police Department. “Not only was the water cold, but the force of the water combined with the sinking car (because a window was open) could have created a vacuum and brought either one of the guys under as well.”

Fire Chief Kash Christopher also commended the witnesses in an email to the MLN Tuesday night: “I will say this, considering how cold and murky that water was, their actions should be commended because they did all they could.”

Christopher went on to commend his staff that also made attempts to rescue McMurray from his Chevrolet Malibu. “Mesquite Fire Rescue arrived on-scene and despite not having the proper dive equipment, three attempts were made to rescue the driver, but the vehicle was fully submerged and after the last attempt, I ordered them out of the water for their safety (they wanted to go again). After the vehicle was located, it was estimated to be 13 feet deep, and the surface temperature was 54 degrees (the deeper you go, the colder it gets). So a rescue by MFD would have been extremely difficult, yet they gave it their best.”


Photo by Lou Martin.


Photo by Kimberly Reese, special to the MLN.

Due to the lack of needed equipment, MPD and MFD called in Search & Rescue teams from Las Vegas. The scene was then turned over to them and Nevada Highway Patrol as well as Las Vegas Metro Police. As of Wednesday morning, no comments had been received by those agencies

The divers with the Search and Rescue teams showed up at approximately 5 p.m. but the full extraction of McMurray and his vehicle wasn’t complete until closer to 8:30 p.m. When the vehicle was pulled out, it was upside down. Crews covered it with a yellow tarp as the brought it out of the water.

It is still unknown if McMurray had suffered a health condition that caused the incident or if there was a malfunction with his vehicle. Until the investigation is finished, those answers cannot be retrieved. Results of the investigation could take several weeks.


Photo by Stephanie Frehner.


Photo by Stephanie Frehner.


Photo by Lou Martin.


Photo by Lou Martin.


Photo by Lou Martin.


Photo by Lou Martin.


Photo by Kimberly Reese, special to the MLN.


Photo by Lou Martin.



  1. Tom Czelusniak says:

    Jim was a great man and a great volunteer at MVRH. He will be missed by us all. I know he is now in heaven with Doctor Zinni and others that have passed in Mesquite. I enjoyed having the pleasure to work with Jim and had many many laughs with him. I know that him and Buck Cross are in heaven together having a cold one.Two great people,too young to be gone. I miss everyone . Love, former MVRH employee Tom Czelusniak

  2. Randy Schwartz says:

    I believe the pond should be drained and filled in with dirt and sand so as not to have this happen again. Why does a tragedy have to happen of any sort before something like this happens again. or any thing gets done about it. I strongly urge city council to drain the pond so no drowning can happen ever again.

    • Idiot Patrol says:

      That has got to be the dumbest idea of the century!

    • Chuck Endres says:

      What is wrong with you, should we shut down the Interstate system because someone get killed in an accident on the interstate. This was a freak accident, fill the pond, get serious.

    • Randy: With an accident of this sort, an autopsy will no doubt be done. Lets wait to see if those results are made public. If Jim had a sudden, severe medical incident, possibly nothing could have been done to save him. Thus the fact that he went into the pond is irrelevant.

      My condolences to the McMurray family. I hope you have wonderful memories to ease your pain.

    • Kristin says:

      Randy, seriously? This was a freak accident. It will probably never happen again. More people could probably plow into the light post that he barely missed, does that mean we should eliminate the light post? How many people die on the interstate? Should we eliminate the interstate?

    • Kristin says:

      And who is going to pay to fill a 15 foot deep drained pond with dirt and sand so that some person experiencing a medical episode won’t accidentally drive his vehicle into it? Get real Schwartz.

    • Yes, lets have city money wasted to have a private business or area fill in their pond because a single tragic accident happened there! In that case, lets ban all automotive travel on the streets so no more pedestrians get hit by cars, or even have the city remove the large palm trees in the center dividers due to the fact that one could fall down and crush a car and cause a horrific traffic accident and loss of life! Come on people think a little bit about what your wanting done before you request an idiotic idea because of a single Accident!

  3. Tom Eckman says:

    I do not agree with randy and i don’t think Jim would either. This was a terrible accident and i feel for his family and loved ones But destroying a beautiful place that is enjoyed by so many human and animal alike would be a loss for all. Instead of calling it the duck pond lets call it Jim’s pond are Jim’s rest to honor him. But please don’t be so quick to destroy.

  4. Aaron Miller says:

    I knew Jim as a customer of mine over several years.He was a very nice man and will be missed.R.I.P. Jim.

    • Theresa Cross says:

      That was a freak accident.. Jim and Dorthory are my best friends.. I have been helping Dorthory through this. The pond is not the reason. Freak accident.. Let it rest.

  5. Jane Parks-McKay says:

    Please, can we just get along, just this week. A very nice man has lost his life and can we honor his life and remember him and pray for the family and friends who I know are going through so much.

  6. Tom McMurrau says:

    Hi, I’m Tom, Jim’s son. When I came out to Mesquite to visit my dad and take in the local sites, one of the tours my father took my on was the Palmer course because he thought is was a beautiful course. At one point he stopped the car right there next to the grass area and we looked out at the pond and the fairway beyond. He thought it was so beautiful and happy that since he lived so close he was able to see it often. I think my dad would feel horrible if that pond was drained because of him. When I come out for the funeral this weekend, I’ll be stopping by that very place we parked that day. Sure I cry for a bit but I’ll also be remembering those couple of minutes I had with him. Please don’t drain that pond.

  7. B Gibson says:

    My heart and prayers go out to Jims wife, family, and all his friends! AlI could think about as I ran and jumped into the water to save this man was that is someones husband, father, grandpa, and friend. Joe and I did our best. I know I tried my hardest to pull him out of the window. Just hoped for a better outcome for all of you close to Jim.

    I have been quietly dealing with this over the last few days questioning everything I did and didnt do, but feel I need to share what happened. I dont think Jim suffered any medical condition to cause this tragic accident. He was responsive after being hit by the airbag, dazed a little but mostly in shock, which is understandable. He was trying to open the door. When the water started rushing in the shock really got him and he didnt help crawl out the window he froze.After seeing his tire tracks it looked as though he had sense to swerve and miss the pole, which probably would have been better to hit than water. His foot may have slipped off the brake and back on the gas pedal and he just kept pushing in panic thinking it was the brake pedal. This has been known to happen to many elderly and younger alike. Regardless, he seemed to be fine medically, just in shock. Hope this clears up any ?’s.

    For Jims family and friends, may you all find comfort and joy by celebrating the life he lived and treasure the memories you have with him!

    • Jane Parks-McKay says:

      B. Gibson: I have thought about you so much this week, in my opinion you are a hero because you reached out to a fellow person and tried to help him. Thank you so much for doing that. Cry when you need to for this action of love and compassion toward another person will be something that will be with you for a long time. Know that I and many others appreciate, so much, what you did. You are a hero!

      • I second Jane’s comment. You risked your life to try to save another and the family has said that they appreciate your efforts. You are a true hero. I’m sure it will take time, but I sincerely hope you are able to find peace as time passes. Please know that you are in the thoughts and prayers of many as is Jim.

    • Michele Thomas (McMurray) says:

      Mr Gibson,
      My family and I need you to know how much we appreciate all you and Joe tried to do. We know you did everything in your power to help him. We have worried about you since this happened. You and Joe are truly angels here on earth. Thank you for letting us know what happened. You will forever be in our prayers.
      The Mc Murray family

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