It has been seven years since California legalized marijuana for adults. However the state nonetheless has no authorized restrict on how a lot is an excessive amount of earlier than you get behind the wheel of a automotive.
Investigative reporter David Goldstein has the story of 1 native household advocating for limits after their daughter was killed in a automotive accident. It is a tragic story the household hopes will assist others.
Eighteen states have some form of limits on the quantity of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in your blood earlier than you are thought-about beneath the affect of marijuana whereas driving. THC is the substance in marijuana that makes you excessive.
However surprisingly, California just isn’t one of many states. And due to that, a neighborhood household believes the individual liable for their daughter’s loss of life acquired off with a simply slap on the wrist.
Video reveals Krystal Kazmark singing in entrance of her graduating class at Palos Verdes Excessive Faculty in 2013. Seven years later, one other video celebrates Krystal’s life after the 25-year-old was killed in a automotive accident. Her mother, dad and brother are left with picture books and recollections.
“I really like my daughter with all my coronary heart. I’ll miss her each second of my life till I take my final breath on this earth,” mentioned Mary Kazmark, Krystal’s mom.
Krystal was a passenger in a pickup truck pushed by her boyfriend, Joshua Daugherty. She was working in Mammoth. The 2 had been driving down a street in the summertime of 2020.
The California Freeway Patrol accident report says Daugherty claimed he “noticed an unknown animal,” “jerked the steering wheel” to the left and collided with one other automobile. The truck was destroyed. Krystal was killed immediately.
When Krystal’s father heard concerning the accident, he considered what he says he witnessed with Daugherty’s driving.
“I knew that he favored to get stoned. I might see him in his automotive getting stoned earlier than he would drive. I noticed that, and that is why we talked to Krystal, like ‘Look, he is getting excessive within the automotive earlier than he goes wherever.’ That is his factor. Cease, get excessive after which drive. That is nuts,” mentioned Craig Kazmark.
Daugherty even admitted utilizing marijuana the day of the accident. Based on a probation report, he mentioned he was “a ‘routine’ hashish consumer,” and disclosed “he had smoked a ‘couple of bowls’ of hashish earlier within the day” of the accident — however he claimed it will not trigger him to be impaired.
Investigators concluded Daugherty was untruthful about attempting to keep away from hitting an animal and was probably beneath the affect on the time of the crash. He was cited with a felony: homicide; and DUI medication and alcohol inflicting accidents.
Krystal’s mom Mary says she had warned him prior to now.
“I even confronted him as soon as when he was smoking and he was going to be driving, and I reminded him that he is acquired my daughter within the automotive, and I instructed him that if he ever did something that harmed her, I might hang-out him, and I am the one being haunted now,” mentioned Mary Kazmark.
Courtroom information present they discovered 18 nanograms of THC in Daugherty’s blood.
Based on the Nationwide Institutes of Well being, THC is the substance that is primarily liable for the consequences of marijuana on an individual’s psychological state.
The 18 nanograms could be nicely above the authorized limits set in 18 states which have marijuana-impaired driving legal guidelines, in response to the Nationwide Convention of State Legislatures — together with Colorado, which has a restrict of 5 nanograms.
“Juries, I believe, prefer to see a quantity,” mentioned Glenn Davis, freeway security supervisor for the Colorado Division of Transportation. “When you’ve got a excessive nanogram degree, your chance of conviction is nice”
However not like different states, California has no authorized limits on THC whereas driving.
Joshua Daugherty was charged with only a misdemeanor. He pleaded responsible to vehicular manslaughter and was sentenced to at least one 12 months in jail.
“I believe he is getting away with homicide. He murdered any person, he will get away with it,” mentioned Craig Kazmark.
Investigators additionally discovered that is the second time somebody in Daugherty’s automotive has died in an accident. The opposite time was in 2010.
Why not throw the e-book at him? Mono County Assistant District Lawyer Todd Graham says he could not do it as a result of there is not any regulation on the books. Although a CHP drug knowledgeable mentioned the “fees must be reconsidered.” And so did the Mono County Probation Division, which beneficial a felony.
“We checked out this case as ‘How are we going to do this?’ That is the query. ‘How are we going to place that collectively?'” mentioned Graham.
Graham says with out precise authorized limits on THC, it would not stick. Although the California Car Code states: “It’s illegal for an individual who’s beneath the affect of any drug to drive a automobile.”
“We wish to see California interact in research that cope with, At what degree are you unsafe to drive relating to marijuana?” mentioned Graham.
Nevertheless it’s not that simple.
“It’s extremely, very harmful to rely solely upon a THC measurement,” mentioned California Assemblyman Tom Lackey, Palmdale (R).
Lackey, a former CHP officer who has seen his share of impaired drivers, says extra research need to be accomplished to see how a lot THC is an excessive amount of.
“Impairment is the main target, and relying solely upon a measurement of THC might be inconclusive, and that is what’s harmful about it,” mentioned Lackey.
Yale College Professor Godfrey Pearlson is doing research on THC and driving for the Nationwide Freeway Site visitors Security Administration. They discovered that THC stays in your system for much longer than alcohol, so a easy restrict simply would not work.
“We have proven that the impairment of driving habits lasts a couple of hours at most, whereas the THC persists within the individual’s system a lot, for much longer than that,” Pearlson tells KCAL Information.
The Kazmarks know none of this can deliver Krystal again, however they hope her loss of life may assist others stay.
“If there was a restrict, maybe individuals would cease and suppose earlier than they did it, and perhaps extra lives could be saved,” mentioned Mary Kazmark.
Joshua Daugherty, by way of his lawyer, had no remark and declined our request for an interview.
California has earmarked about $2 million this 12 months to check the consequences of THC whereas driving, within the hopes of developing with some form of commonplace.
Investigative Reporter David Goldstein has been honored with the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award from Radio and Tv Information Affiliation of Southern California and the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Los Angeles Press Membership. In his greater than three a long time reporting in L.A., David has gained greater than 10 Emmy Awards and 20 Golden Mike Awards.