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Cagle Law Firm
Attorney Zane Cagle

Posted on January 25th, 2012,
by Zane Cagle

Allegedly High Driver Charged in Woman’s Death

Posted on January 25th, 2012 by Zane Cagle

Allegedly High Driver Charged in Woman’s DeathA man was charged with first degree manslaughter in the death of a St. Louis, Missouri woman.  Police allege the man was high on a mixture of marijuana and oxycodone when he was driving on September 13, 2010.  The woman was at a gas station in south city, walking around the rear of her vehicle to fill up her tank.  This man, also allegedly on a cell phone, struck a small barrier pole in the parking lot, then struck the woman.  She was pronounced dead at a hospital.  Freon was also found in the car, and a witness reported that the driver had been known to huff Freon in the past.  The victim’s husband has brought a civil suit for wrongful death, while the state is pursuing the criminal charges.

According to the National Institute for Drug Abuse, roughly 16% of people on a given weekend night will test positive for some form of drug, either legal or illegal.  Among fatally injured drivers, approximately 18% tested positive for at least one drug (illegal, prescription, or over the counter) in 2009.  This is a 13% increase from 2005.  This shows that, while the word has gotten out about drinking and driving, people do not realize the dangers of driving after taking a drug.  Even cold medications available over the country warn of drowsiness or impairment, but people still choose to drive after taking them.  This has dangerous consequences for other drivers on the road.

Perhaps the most dangerous form of impaired driving is driving on a mixture of alcohol and another drug.  When a person mixes alcohol and another drug, the user has no idea what will happen when they get behind the wheel.  Even a person who limits their drinking to just a couple beers may become severely impaired when used in combination with marijuana or a common allergy medicine.  It may also take the body longer to process these drugs in combination, so a user may not be impaired when they get behind the wheel, but gradually become so as he or she drives.

It is impossible to say which is more harmful, drunk driving or drugged driving.  It’s impossible because it’s impossible to know exactly how pervasive the behavior is, often because police officers don’t have the ability to test drivers who are under the influence of a drug.  While police have breathalyzers to test a driver’s blood-alcohol content, processes to test for drugs haven’t quite reached that level of accuracy.  This may be changing, however.  Scientists in Britain have developed a drug test which tests sweat secreted from finger tips.  It uses gold nanoparticles and antibodies on that sweat to determine in minutes if someone is high on an illicit drug.  The researchers claim the test is so accurate that it can even tell if someone is currently high on marijuana, as opposed to urinalysis which can only tell if someone has used marijuana in the past month or so.  If this new test is widely implemented, it may give law enforcement and the public at large better information about all forms of impaired driving.

Zane T. Cagle and the Missouri personal injury attorneys at The Cagle Law Firm wish the victim’s family all the best as they pursue a wrongful death case against this driver.  Our Missouri car crash attorneys have handled similar cases to this, and we know how such a tragedy impacts a family.  If you or a loved one has been impacted by such a tragedy, we know that you’re looking for compassion and aggression: compassion to adequately represent the family, aggression to make sure the tortfeasor pays for their negligence.  Call Zane T. Cagle the Missouri personal injury lawyers at The Cagle Law Firm today at 1.800.685.3302 for a free consultation to learn your options under the law.

SOURCES: St. Louis Post-Dispatch ; Complete Drug Testing Solutions