Act I – Milwaukie, Oregon, man driving on a busy five-lane road during rush-hour traffic on a dark, wet, rainy night hits and kills a careless pedestrian who stepped into traffic in the middle of the road in Vancouver, Washington, outside of any marked crosswalks. The man is charged with marijuana DUI, causing the media to erupt in fits of hyperbole and speculation over the first big marijuana DUI story since passage of marijuana legalization in Washington State.
Act II – As the news emerges that the driver admitted to smoking marijuana “an hour to an hour-and-a-half” before the accident and that he failed a field sobriety test, commenters on news media pages lament the Stoned Mayhem On Freeways (SMOF) that is the inevitable outcome of legalization. In the marijuana media, meanwhile, pot-smoking opponents of this marijuana legalization howled in righteous condemnation of the new per se DUID law that is the doom of this and all marijuana-using drivers, despite the fact that in any case where a driver fails a sobriety test, admits to pot smoking, and kills a pedestrian, his blood will be drawn and used as evidence in a vehicular manslaughter charge.
Now Act III – Charges have been dropped against the driver for vehicular manslaughter and he never was charged with DUI.
On Wednesday, Clark County prosecutors said after reviewing the case, they decided to drop the charge against Rowles. The prosecutors concluded that further investigation was needed, a spokesperson said.
Rowles is currently not being held on any charges, although the investigation is still open.
Prosecutors also said despite what a police news release said, Rowles was never charged with driving under the influence of intoxicants.
Will prosecutors reinstate a DUI-marijuana charge when they get that blood test result back? The news reports are vague, but I will follow up on the question tomorrow.