An 18-year-old woman, Heather, Lee, faces charges of vehicular assault after eight people were injured in a multi-car accident on State Route 2 between Sultan and Monroe around 6:20pm last night. Lee admitted to the Washington State Patrol (WSP) that she had smoked marijuana earlier in the day prior to the chain reaction collision that injured five children, three adults, some critically.
KOMO News reports that the chain reaction car accident occurred when Lee, apparently distracted by the two children in the back seat of her Dodge Durango, slammed into a Chevy Blazer that was slowing to a stop for a Chrysler minivan that was attempting a left hand turn.
The 23-year-old female driver of the Chevy Blazer, along with three boys and two girls in her vehicle were all injured in the accident. A 10-0year-old boy appears to have suffered the most critical injuries -- an injury described by KOMO as a "crushed skull." The most severely injured were taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. The others injured were taken to area hospitals.
Also involved in the accident was a Dodge Caravan which was struck when Lee's Durango crossed the centerline after impact with the Blazer. A 37-year-old woman in the Caravan was injured.
A vehicle following the Caravan ended up in a ditch when its driver veered off the roadway to avoid the accident.
The children in Lee's vehicle reportedly were not injured in the accident.
Lee faces charges of Vehicular Assault, RCW 46.61.522, which can be charged if a driver seriously injured another person while driving recklessly, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or driving without the regard for the safety of others.
Marijuana and Driving
It's unfortunate for the all those injured on SR 2 that Lee had smoked marijuana earlier in the day. Studies show that marijuana raises the risk of a car accident by 1.75 if the marijuana user smokes within three hours of driving. Marijuana appears to increasingly play a role in fatal car accidents.
According to the British Medical Journal:
"… cannabis impairs performance of the cognitive and motor tasks necessary for safe driving, increasing the risk of collision.
There is actually quite a lot of research on the use of cannabis and car accident risk and drugged driving is definitively a problem across the nation. With Washington state legalizing marijuana use, it only stands to reason that usage of the drug will increase . The American Journal of Epidemiology found that even before Washington state enacted their pot law, the incidence of motor vehicle accident victims increased from 4.2 percent in 199 to 12.2 percent in 2010.
There is the feeling that people will not take marijuana usage seriously until enough people lose a loved one eve. Said Dr. Guohua Li, director of the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention at Columbia University Medical Center said, “The increased availability of marijuana and increased acceptance of marijuana use” are fueling the higher rate of cannabinol found in dead drivers."
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This information is provided by the Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. Our law firm represents those who have been seriously injured in car accidents caused by the negligence of another.
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