Marijuana – impairment, along with another unnamed prescription drug, was involved in the accident that shut down Highway 1 for three hours on the afternoon of March 21. A black Lexus SUV hit a silver Mazda sedan near Molera Road at 12:30 p.m., California Highway Patrol officers said. It happened between Castroville and Moss Landing.
The 24-year-old man who was driving the Mazda died in the crash. He has not been identified.
Seven 19- and 20-year-old women were in the Lexus. They included four young women from Santa Cruz, students from University of California, Santa Cruz. The three others were college students visiting from Colorado. They were headed to Big Sur for their Spring Break.
The driver told the California Highway Patrol that she rolled down her window to toss a cigarette out (did she mean joint?), accidentally veered into oncoming traffic, and hit the Mazda. She has been arrested.
CHP officers said they suspect that the Lexus driver, Linnaye Hernandez, was under the influence of marijuana, and one passenger hid a makeup bag full of marijuana in a farm field. The passenger, 19-year-old Sarah Cameron of Santa Cruz, was arrested for destroying or concealing evidence. Investigators said a witness called in and saw Cameron hiding something in a nearby field.
“So thanks to that caller we were able to locate a bag filled with marijuana,” said Oscar Loza, CHP Officer.
During questioning, almost everyone in the Lexus eventually admitted to using marijuana, and the driver said she had taken prescription medication just minutes prior to the crash, according to the CHP. It is not clear what drug she had taken
The students were transported to Natividad Medical Center and a San Jose trauma center to be treated for injuries that range from critical to minor. The driver suffered a lacerated liver.
“It’s spring break, people want to enjoy their time off, relax, get away from school and that’s great but when you do it, just do it responsibly. We don’t want your break from school to end in a tragedy like this,” said Loza.
Here’s another report about the accident and investigation. It should be noted that three of the girls came from school in Colorado and four go to school in Santa Cruz, long-standing center of marijuana activism with the Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana.