New, previously withheld police bodycam audio shows a man who killed three people in a DUI crash last year telling a Nye County Sheriff’s deputy that he had to use opioids to avoid drug withdrawal. Minutes later, he was released to continue driving — and cause the deadly collision.

A Review-Journal investigation published last month showed that deputies suspected Arizona driver Tyler Kennedy was high on opiates when they questioned him in Amargosa Valley, about 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

But they did not conduct field sobriety tests or stop Kennedy from driving, as the sheriff’s DUI policy required. The new audio segment from one bodycam video provides additional evidence that officers were aware Kennedy was using drugs when they let him go.

In the full bodycam video, Kennedy tells Nelson, after she finds fentanyl in his truck: “I’m going to Oregon to go to rehab. I’m sick. I have to do that or I’m going to get sick. … I have to do it. I’m going to be sick.”
Kennedy was questioned by five officers outside the Area 51 Alien Center store on March 27, 2021, for about an hour before deputies released him.

An hour later, he crashed his truck into an SUV, killing Michael Durmeier, his financee, Lauren Starcevich, and Michael’s 12-year-old daughter, Georgia. Two other children in the SUV were injured but survived.