Marijuana and Pedestrian, Cyclists Deaths

Ramming into People at Bus Stops, on Sidewalks

A 65- year old driver rammed into pedestrians waiting at a bus stop in Vallejo, California on June 19. The mother of a 4-year-old girl was killed quickly, while the daughter and 4 others waiting for the bus were injured. The matter is still under investigation. Early reports said the driver had recently left a medical marijuana dispensary and he had pot on him.

On June 10, a driver in Ferndale, near Bellingham, struck and killed two Windward High School students on the sidewalk going to PE class. The 32-year-old driver admitted to being a daily marijuana smoker, not unusual in Washington. He injured two more students at that time, and his 3-year old son was in the car with him. Despite being a daily marijuana user, the driver claims he wasn’t stoned at the time.   States that legalize recreational marijuana seriously need to examine their responsibility for legitimizing pot use and creating addiction.  The states and pro-pot groups that push for these policies are victimizing citizens on so many levels.

In November, a 16-year old high school student killed as he got outside of his car in front of Broomfield High School in Colorado. A 17-year old driver, not a student at the school, hit him.  The driver tested positive for marijuana but not alcohol. Reports says friends had warned him not to drive stoned, but he did.

Mothers come together to remember 7-year old who died tragically after being struck on the sidewalk in Vancouver, WA by a stoned driver.  Photo: Oregonlive
Mothers come together to remember 7-year old who died tragically after being struck on the sidewalk in Vancouver, WA by a stoned driver. Photo: Oregonlive

On October 31, in Vancouver, Washington, a stoned driver plowed onto the sidewalk, killed a 7-year old girl, injured her friend, her mother and her friend’s mother. It was Halloween and they were trick-or-treating. There’s been at least 5 pedestrian deaths in Vancouver since the state of Washington legalized pot. The first pedestrian death caused by a stoned driver happened in December, 2012, a week after pot became legal.

Cyclists Also Killed by Stoned Drivers

In Bellevue, Washington, shortly after pot was legalized, a stoned driver hit and killed a motorcyclist. It happened in October, 2013, 10 months after pot was legalized but 10 months before it went on sale at recreational dispensaries.  More recently, it happened outside of Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Robert and Susan Kammeraad were struck and killed by a driver high on marijuana.

In Puyallup, Washington, Pastor Eric Renz was critically injured while hit by Kallie James, 19, who was driving under the influence of marijuana on November 24.  He was riding his bike, working between two separate homeless shelters. Two weeks later, he died.
James is charged with vehicular homicide.  She used both marijuana and Paxil, but shouldn’t the state bear some of the blame by not adequately warning youth about the dangers of marijuana and the flawed judgment that comes with early pot usage?  Her situation reminds us that marijuana doesn’t treat depression, but makes it worse.  Pastor Renz was a well-respected community leader.

Site of Puyallup, Washington car-bicycle crash which killed Pastor Eric Renz, a humanitarian leader in the community.
Site of Puyallup, Washington bicycle crash which killed Pastor Eric Renz, a humanitarian community leader, on Nov.24. He died 2 weeks later. Photo Credit: Komo News

In Vermont, a 17-year old hit and killed a bicyclist, 47-year–old Richard Tom.  Tom was an experience bicyclist who worked for VBT Biking and Hiking Vacations in Bristol, Vermont.  He wore a helmut. The driver Joseph Marshall, who also died, had 36 nanograms of THC in his blood. It’s estimated that he was going 83 to 88 miles per hour in in the 30-40 mph zone. So much for stoned drivers being slow and careful!  It happened in April, but it was the 4th fatal crash involving marijuana-impaired driving in Vermont over a period of 6 months.

In recent years, Vermont has had some of the highest rates of youth marijuana usage.   High youth usage often results in addiction which carries on into adulthood or leads to other drugs.

These stories show that drivers under the influence of marijuana killed 9 people and injured 10 others in 8 separate accidents.  Please use these stories as warnings about stoned driving.  Please stop saying it is any “safer than alcohol.”

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