Marijuana use confessed by driver in Times Square incident
Yesterday afternoon a man in Times Square drove his car for three blocks on the sidewalk killing one young adult and injuring 22 others. The driver was Richard Rojas, a Navy veteran who lived in the Bronx.
When he was arrested there was suspicion of either DUI or DWI given his arrest history which is rather extensive. He was arrested just over a week ago for a menacing charge as well as criminal possession of a weapon which consisted of him pulling a holding a knife to the throat of a 45 year old man on May 11.
He was also arrested on 4/23/15 for DWI to which he pleaded guilty to “Operating Motor Vehicle While Impaired by Alcohol.” In 2012 he was arrested for suspicion of battery after he attacked a cab driver, refusing to pay the $44 fare. Rojas was also arrested 8/26/08 for another DWI in Queens.
In 2014 he was, “Other than honorably discharged” from the navy due to his actions.After the crash yesterday he was taken to check for drugs and alcohol in his system and it was reported that PCP, K2 (synthetic marijuana), and marijuana were all found in his system.
Out of the 22 people who were injured, four of those were labeled as “critical” one of those being the deceased’s younger sister. Rojas has been charged with murder, 20 additional counts of attempted murder, along with aggravated vehicular homicide. See CNN article, New York Times Square Driver Charged.
Woman drives car into Las Vegas Strip
Unfortunately this scene is all too familiar as last year in Nevada a homeless woman drove her car into countless people on the strip while her three year old daughter was in the back seat. The suspect, Lakeisha Holloway, “went up and off these streets, two or possibly three times.
The subject then allegedly drove off before being apprehended outside the Tuscany Casino. She left her child in the car, approached a valet and told him, ‘she ran over some individuals on Las Vegas Boulevard’.” She is accused of killing one person, 32 year old Jessica Valenzuela, and injuring an additional 37 people.
She picked up 71 different charges, most of them being for attempted murder and battery with a deadly weapon. After a toxicology report was performed, it was determined that marijuana was in her system but prosecutors said it was unlikely that she would be charged with driving under the influence.
According to Prosecutor Marc DiGiacomo, “The amount of marijuana and marijuana metabolite does not appear to be enough to affect her mental state at the time of the crime, she intentionally drove into the crowd.” The 3.5 nanogram per milliliter of marijuana in her blood were above the 2-nanogram limit in Nevada and the 23.6 nanograms per milliliter of marijuana metabolites in her system were above the 5-nanogram state limit.
Needless to say it is rather clear that this woman was seriously impaired and she should not have been driving. During an examination after her arrest it was also reported that, “she appeared to be under the influence of a stimulant.”
Driving stoned is never a good idea as these two stories suggest. It does not matter if you think you are able to drive, the drugs can always have a weird effect on your impulse control and decision making.
Neither of the two drivers were injured in the crashes which just reinforces that regardless of whether you are behind the wheel or not you should always be careful when you are out and about. Marijuana should not be used at all, especially now that we are seeing that its use can cause death. Our thoughts go out to the victims and their families.
Marijuana Drivers Deliberately Aim to Kill?
Above are just a couple of examples that have happened recently.
Another eerily similar incident in Oregon is featured in a recent blog on Poppot.org. A man in Salem Oregon smoked pot and then deliberately mowed down a man in his car, killing him. See the Poppot.org article, Legalization Prioritizes Profits Over Human Life.
Here is a story on Momsstrong.org which describes a marijuana impaired driver deliberately trying to run over a squirrel. Instead, he lost control of the car and killed his best friend. Read The Deadly Consequences of Marijuana Use.