Drugged Driving Problems with Heroin and Meth

In mid-February, a Virginia man under the influence of methamphetamines killed three people in Pike County while DUID—driving under the influence of drugs. Brian Paquette of Newport News, Virginia drove northbound in the southbound lanes until a state trooper drove onto the median, trying to get his attention. Paquette then entered the median, made a U-turn, and drove southbound in the northbound lanes. The trooper followed, still trying to get his attention, but Paquette struck two vehicles near mile marker 49 a few moments later, causing the deaths of three adults and one fetus. He was charged with 12 felony counts, including three counts of homicide and three counts of resisting law enforcement while in a vehicle that caused death.

This horrible tragedy is, unfortunately, not a rarity these days as problems with people under the influence of illegal drugs like meth and heroin become more prevalent. In late November of 2015 in Indianapolis, an attempt by police to pull over a suspect resulted in a chase, ending with a car crash that killed the passenger in the suspect’s car and also sent the driver of the other car to the hospital with serious injuries. The suspect admitted to being high on both meth and heroin. And in late January over in Ohio, a car traveling west on I-74 crashed, ejecting two adults, injuring them. Two young boys in the back seat wearing seatbelts were not injured. Both adults were under the influence of heroin; they had obtained the drug in Ohio, shot up, and were heading back to Indiana when they lost control of the car.

Neighboring states have had their problems as well. A head-on collision in Kenton County, KY, last September 1 killed four. The driver, one of the fatalities, was traveling roughly 82 miles per hour when he hit the other car, having overdosed on both heroin and Fentanyl (a strong, legal painkiller often used in surgery that makes heroin more powerful). He also had THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, in his system. It is believed he was likely unconscious at the time of the impact.

In an effort to curb such deadly activity that often kills only the innocent, in Indiana, we have a per se or zero-tolerance policy when it comes to drugged driving. A driver can be charged for having an illegal substance’s metabolite in his or her system, even if they are currently sober. A driver can be stopped and arrested if an officer has a reasonable suspicion that he or she is under the influence of illegal drugs, regardless of whether or not actual impairment is demonstrated behind the wheel. Furthermore, any person who is arrested on suspicion of DUID gives their implied consent to any required blood or urine testing. A refusal to be tested can be used against the person in court as evidence of alleged drugged driving.

A national survey released in 2013 reported that almost 10 million people aged 12 or older had driven under the influence of illegal drugs in the previous year. Such irresponsible behavior is not to be tolerated, and we do not tolerate it at McNeely Stephenson.

When others breach their duty, we keep ours.

If you are researching the legal rights and resources available in the aftermath of a drugged driving crash, we hope you’ll consider calling Indiana attorney Mike Stephenson to talk about what happened. You can be assured that our lawyers, and our financial resources, are willing to go the distance on your behalf. Like other personal injury claims in Indiana, a drugged driving injury claim must be filed within two years of the date of injury, so don’t delay. We offer free consultations, and there is no fee for any of our work if we don’t win your case. Contact Mike today by calling 1-317-825-5200, or use our online contact form for a free legal consultation. At McNeely Stephenson, we believe justice matters.