By Steve Elliott ~alapoet~ in News
Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 1:00 pm
|Vancouver, Washington inspect the scene of the accident|
I-502 In Action: Cops Say Driver 'Technically At Fault' Because He Had THC In His System
Before Washington state "marijuana legalization" Initiative 502 passed last month, some in the community, Toke of the Town included, publicly worried about the fallout from the measure's section on driving under the influence of cannabis. It appears those concerns were not groundless -- a driver, not at fault in a fatal accident, has been charged with DUI-marijuana in a deadly crash which ended the life of a pedestrian.
According to the Vancouver Police Department, this is probably the first deadly crash involving marijuana since it became legal in Washington. The driver was not at fault, but was charged anyway, since police "believed him to be under the influence of marijuana."
The victim, a male in his 50s, was believed to have been walking back home from a grocery store and stepped out into the middle of traffic around 5:50 p.m. at East Mill Boulevard and Andresen Road on Monday, according to police.
Officials said the victim was close to two different lit and controlled intersections, "but chose to step out into the middle of traffic, which would clearly put him at fault," reports KPTV.
But because the cops at the scene of the accident "believed" driver Scott Rowles to be "under the influence of marijuana," he was charged with DUI anyway. If his blood test shows that he was over five nanograms per milliliter (5 ng/ml) THC blood level, he will be considered automatically guilty; that's the legal effect of an arbitrarily set "per se" THC limit, as unscientific and as unfair it may be.
Under I-502, the simple fact that he had THC in his blood automatically means he is "technically at fault," according to police, even though the pedestrian stepped out in front of him and he didn't have time to stop.
Does it seem as if the cops, in I-502, have a whole new way to punish people who choose to use marijuana -- even when they've done absolutely nothing wrong? Well. This is what they're going to do to us.
Nobody should be surprised when badly written legislation results in innocent people being charged with crimes.