Tag Archives: Richard Tom

Marijuana-impaired drivers pose threat to bicyclists

On October 23, a 21-year-old woman drove through a California neighborhood and rear ended a cyclist riding in front of her.  The cyclist died at the scene, but the driver survived.  Police detected the strong smell of marijuana in her car. 

Police charged the driver, Korina Machuca, with DUI and vehicular homicide.    Detectives in Fresno County say they’ve seen a rise in drug-related crashes.  Last year they had 54 drug-related crashes, but this year 141 crashes involved drugs.

Tracing bicycle deaths of 3 children and 5 adults killed by marijuana-impaired drivers shows how justice for victims is reduced after marijuana decriminalization and legalization.

Continue reading Marijuana-impaired drivers pose threat to bicyclists
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Vermont House Avoids Vote to Legalize Marijuana

Last Tuesday the Vermont House of Representatives planned to vote on a bill to allow possession and home grows for marijuana.  However, when it came to a floor vote, the pot proponents knew there were not enough votes to pass the bill.

Even though Vermont’s former governor supported legalization, a legalization bill failed miserably in the Vermont House  last year.  The new bill is less expansive than last year’s bill, but legalization appears to be headed for failure this year.

Vermont’s new governor, Phil Scott, has made it clear that the legislature needs to find safeguards against drugged driving.   There is no simple test to measure stoned driving, as there is for drunk driving.  Individuals have a legal right to refuse a blood test, and police must get a court order to administer the tests.  THC levels in the blood may go down during the waiting period.

In October, five teens were killed by a wrong-way driver who had high levels of THC in his blood.  The 36-year-old driver allegedly used marijuana to calm himself, a sign of dependence and addiction.

Crash scene of double fatality, which killed Richard Tom and Joseph Marshall on April 26, 2015. The driver who had been speeding, also had a very high THC measure in his blood. Photo: Elizabeth Murray, in the Burlington Free Press file.

A 17-year-old stoned driver hit and killed Richard Tom, an experienced cyclist with VBT Vermont Biking and Walking Vacations, in April, 2015.  That teen driver, who also died, had 36 nanograms of THC in his blood, way above Colorado’s limit of 5 nanograms. (Many people think Colorado’s limit is insufficient.)

Vermont’s Teen Use of Pot Must be Addressed

To many legislators, teen pot use is also a problem making it difficult to legalize.  The current bill has been sent to the Human Services Committee for additional work aimed to prevent youth marijuana use.    Youth marijuana usage often leads to other opiate pill and heroin abuse.  Last year Vermont had 105 opiate abuse deaths, up from 75 in 2015.

In 2014, one third of Vermont’s traffic fatalities occurred because of drugged drivers, with marijuana frequently mentioned in crash reports.   Vermont decriminalized pot in 2013.

Vermont has less than 625,000 residents, but a number of deaths in recent years were indirectly linked to marijuana use. Jody Herring, who allegedly shot and killed four people in 2015, had mental health issues.  She had initially lost custody of her daughter for lying about her marijuana use.  It was a shocking crime in the small, rural state.

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Vermont Legislators Ignore the Evidence About Marijuana

Vermont legislators are expected to take up legislation to legalize pot this month, but they should examine the evidence and stop looking at dollar signs.  Marijuana causes car accidents and is known as a trigger for mental health problems and psychosis.

On August 7,  2015, Jody Herring of Barre killed four people.   It was the worst recent case of violence in our nation’s second least populous state.  Herring had mental health issues and a drug problem,  with marijuana the substance most evident in her history.  (Lancet Psychiatry Journal published February 16 2015 study  that 1/4 of incidences of first-time psychosis in London over 6 years were triggered by  marijuana use. Herring had been using for a long time.)

At least 3 others who died in Vermont this past year — Richard Tom, Joseph Marshall, Lance Magoon — were in crashes involving stoned drivers.   In 2014, one third of all traffic fatalities Continue reading Vermont Legislators Ignore the Evidence About Marijuana

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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 Continue reading Marijuana and Pedestrian, Cyclists Deaths

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