A woman in New Jersey was charged with two counts of vehicular homicide after marijuana was detected in her system. A blood test was conducted shortly after the accident where the woman caused a four-car crash that resulted in two fatalities.
On March 29, first responders arrived at a car crash at Route 571 and Whitesville Road.
On June 21, Danielle Bowker, 30, of Tom’s River, New Jersey was charged with “two counts of Vehicular Homicide in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5a(1); two counts of Strict Liability Vehicular Homicide in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5.3a; two counts of Assault by Auto in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1c(2); and Driving While Intoxicated in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50,” according to a press release from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.
The crash resulted in the deaths of Michael Sadis, 48, and Paul Lamberti, 58. Both of the victims resided in Manchester County. Sadis was pronounced dead at the scene, and Lamberti was airlifted to Jersey Shore University Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead. Two others, Eduardo Riviera, 30, of Hamilton Township, and Daniel Septor, 26, of Freehold, were both transported to Community Medical Center of Toms River with minor injuries.
In New Jersey, possession of up to six ounces of marijuana is legal. Driving high is – and always will be – illegal. If marijuana is consumed by someone operating a motor vehicle, they’re putting themselves and everyone else on the road at risk.
In motor vehicle accidents where fatalities have occurred, it is not uncommon to have the driver at fault take a drug test to confirm any substances present in their system at the time the accident occurred.
Depending on the frequency of use, Healthline says marijuana is detectable for up to thirty days through urine or hair testing. National Library of Medicine explains how blood tests and saliva tests are more costly and can only be done in a qualified lab, but their smaller window of detection makes them excellent tools in determining if marijuana was to blame in a crash – which in this case, it was.
From the same press release referenced above, “Laboratory results of Bowker’s blood draw, received by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit, revealed that Bowker had an Active THC (marijuana) level of 7 nanograms (ng) with a Metabolite THC level of 61ng – indicating that Bowker was a recent, active user of marijuana at the time of the crash. Upon reviewing the laboratory results of Bowker’s blood draw, the State’s psychopharmacologist rendered an opinion that at the time of the crash, Bowker’s faculties were impaired due to the effects of marijuana intoxication, and that she could not safely operate a motor vehicle.”
Bowker lost control of her Honda Civic by crossing lanes as the road turned. She struck a Ford F-550 (a Department of Transportation Truck,) which then consequently struck two other vehicles, a Toyota Corolla and a Toyota Camry. Bowker's blood draw results pushed the Ocean County Prosecutor to move swiftly with pressing the charges.