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Teen says curve, not pot was responsible for fatal crash

Prosecutors allege that a New York City teen was high on marijuana and speeding when he lost control of his sports car and caused and accident that killed his three best friends in October 2012 on the Southern State Parkway on Long Island.

During the opening statements of the teen’s criminal trial this week, his defense lawyer admitted that the teen had been smoking marijuana on the night of the accident, but he said it wasn’t enough to hinder his driving abilities as testing revealed only a trace of the drug in the teen’s system.

The defense lawyer explained that the case highlights a pressing issue in drugged driving cases involving marijuana which is how much of the drug is needed to cause impairment. So far, state lawmakers throughout the country have not been able to reach a consensus on this issue.

The defense lawyer also said that while his client may have been speeding when the accident took place, the court should also consider the fact that the teen lost control on an unmarked, blind curve where many other accidents have happened in the past and is referred to as “Dead Man’s Curve.”

The defense lawyer said he plans to have numerous people testify in support of both of his arguments.

The teen, who is now 19-years-old, faces up to 25 years in prison if found guilty. He has been charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter, reckless endangerment and driving while intoxicated by drugs.

This case not only demonstrates how serious fatal drunk driving accidents are treated under the law in New York, but also how there is often much more than meets the eye in criminal cases.

At first glance, this appears to be the case of a reckless teen who was high on drugs when he caused an accident that killed his friends. However, after a closer look, it’s possible that the dangerous road could have played more of a role in causing the accident than the marijuana.

All criminal cases deserve a careful analysis before a judgment is made, which is what our court system is for.

Source: CBS New York, “Prosecutor: Queens Teen High, Speeding In Fatal Southern State Parkway Crash,” May 8, 2014