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Police claim synthetic marijuana contributed to fatal crash

A 32-year-old South Carolina man is being accused of drugged driving after allegedly being involved in a car crash that killed a man and injured a child.

According to police, the suspect did not have traditional marijuana in his system. Instead, law enforcement tested the man positively for synthetic marijuana.

The case centers on a Sept. 13 crash. The accused man was driving a GMC pickup truck when he allegedly swooped into the opposite lane of traffic. This prompted a head-on collision between the truck and a Toyota Avalon carrying a 37-year-old Lexington father and his son. The father was killed at the scene and his son was injured in the crash.

Police claim they found synthetic marijuana in the man's truck and a urine test revealed it was also in his system at the time of the crash. The substance is a part of a growing trend nationwide. Synthetic marijuana causes a person to feel effects similar to that of using marijuana, but the drug is not regulated. In fact, it was being sold in convenient stores and retailers that carry smoking accessories.

Synthetic marijuana has recently been banned in South Carolina and nationwide.

This could potentially be one of the first trials in South Carolina that centers on synthetic marijuana. Because not a lot is known of synthetic marijuana, it will be tough to prove how much was in his system and whether or not that amount made him legally impaired to drive a vehicle.

Right now, there is no standard for how much synthetic marijuana makes a person legally impaired, as there is with alcohol.

The accused is being housed at the Lexington County Detention Center because he was denied bond by a judge. The man is charged with reckless homicide and two counts of felony driving under the influence. According to a news report, the 32-year-old man is a father of two and has a clean driving record.

Source: The State, "Police charge Lexington man in fatal wreck after discovering synthetic marijuana in his system," Noelle Phillips, Oct. 31, 2011

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