Drunk driving is a familiar cause of horrific traffic accidents in New York City and its suburbs, but the connection between drug usage and car accidents is not as well-known. A recent two-car accident in Rockland County that police have blamed on the alleged abuse of prescription drugs may help people realize that being charged with driving while under the influence of drugs, even prescription drugs, can have equivalent consequences to being accused of drunk driving.
A couple in their late 60s who had been married 47 years were returning home from Sunday brunch when their Toyota Camry was struck by a Lincoln MKV SUV at the intersection of Goebel Road and Route 304 in New City. The driver of the Camry was declared dead at the scene. His wife was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital but died before the ambulance reached the hospital. The driver of the Lincoln was apparently uninjured.
Police said that the driver of the Lincoln, a 23-year-old man from Nanuet, ran a red light at the intersection and crashed into the Camry. Investigators have alleged that the man was high on drugs at the time of the accident. He allegedly had Xanax on him at the time of the crash, and further toxicology results are pending. The man was charged with operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs, vehicular manslaughter and other offenses. Police also allege that the man did not have a valid driver’s license at the time of crash, due to a suspension after he failed to appear in court for another traffic violation.
The charges facing the driver of the Lincoln are very serious. Punishment could include a large fine and significant jail time. He is, of course, entitled to be presumed innocent unless and until he is found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, but the consequences could be devastating. Anyone facing similar charges may wish to consult an experienced criminal attorney for an evaluation of the facts and law that will determine the case’s outcome.
Source: NBC New York, “23-Year-Old Driver Allegedly High on Drugs Crashes Into Car, Killing Married NY Couple: Police,” Erica Bufield, June 5, 2017