Joshua Wittig convicted of vehicular homicide in death of John Hines, was on pot and much more

Thumbnail image for joshua wittig mug shot cropped.JPG
Joshua Wittig.
The October arrest of then-eighteen-year-old Joshua Wittig in a fatal accident that killed John Page Hines, 33, was accompanied by allegations that Wittig was high on marijuana that he may have obtained by improperly claiming to be a licensed medical marijuana patient. But evidence that convicted Wittig of vehicular homicide showed many more substances in his system.

The accident took place just after midnight on October 1 in Thornton. According to witnesses, Wittig, driving an SUV, was headed westbound in the eastbound lanes of Thornton Parkway when he collided head-on with Hines, who was riding a motorcycle. Hines was declared dead at the scene.

Afterward, North Metro Drug Task Force Commander Jerry Peters told us: "It's our understanding that the suspect in the case is a self-proclaimed medical marijuana patient who didn't fill out all the paperwork -- that he got a doctor's recommendation from a Boulder clinic for back pain and then took a partially filled-out application to a dispensary.

"We're trying to see if there's a loophole in the system that hasn't been recognized where people are trying to buy marijuana illegally, or if this is somebody who's in the system who hasn't been verified yet," Peters added. "We're still in the investigative stages, but we know the medical use of marijuana is involved in the case."

In the end, however, this question appears to have been a side note in the trial. According to the office of Seventeenth Judicial District DA Don Quick, Wittig admitted to "self-medicating" -- and he didn't limit himself to cannabis. In addition to marijuana, a toxicology report found that he was also under the influence of Xanax, Valium and Percocet at the time of the crash.

Since Hines's death, controversy has flared about Representative Claire Levy's legislation to set a THC driving standard -- a bill that was put on hold shortly after a blood test of Westword medical marijuana critic William Breathes showed that he was nearly three times over the proposed limit when sober.

But given the cocktail of medication in Wittig's blood at the time of the collision, the results of the trial -- he was found guilty of vehicular homicide DUI and vehicular homicide reckless, offenses that can lead to a four-to-twelve year sentence -- will be difficult for advocates on either side of the THC bill to use on behalf of their arguments.

More from our Comment of the Day archive: "Reader: Show compassion for Wittig, Hines families in medical-marijuana-related crash."

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43 comments
Mm
Mm

Any way you look at both them messed and the payment came out bad that the reality of the situation jw is a good friend of mine I've known him for a long time John I didn't know I send my condolences to his family. But talking down on people settles nothing at all taking drugs and driving bad. Drinking annd driving bad if both were in a suv could have killed wachother but that's not the case they were both wrong

.....
.....

I heard hines was drunk?

STaylor
STaylor

John was taken from here before he would be able to kill someone. Seeing that he recently had a DUI. It was only a matter of time before he would've taken someone's life since he didn't learn from his mistakes.

Cara
Cara

Josh Wittig had multiple drugs in his system at levels well above prescribed dosages, and these were no doubt responsible for his condition having caused the wreck, particularly in combination. The pot he’d smoked was only one small contributing factor. Josh had ingested at least 5 times the prescribed dosage of Xanax alone, and this is the only drug for which he had a valid prescription. Other drugs in his system were Percocet (which is oxycodone withparacetamol/acetaminophen – no prescription), Valium (no prescription), and Cannabis (he had a prescription, but he never sent in the paperwork to register and obtain his card). To be clear, Josh Wittig did not simply cross over the center line. He was driving westbound in the eastbound lanes of traffic when he narrowly missed a head-on collision with a woman, swerved back across the center median/turn lane into his proper westbound lane, then drove back across the center median/turn lane into my brother’s eastbound lane. This was not a case of simply falling asleep at the wheel and drifting a few feet. He was making extreme and abrupt steering actions in a matter of a second or two. The man killed was my brother, John Hines, and he was traveling in the middle of his lane going the speed limit obeying all traffic laws. All this is based on a combination of eye-witness testimony and empirical physical evidence. The issue here is Josh’s refusal to accept PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for his choices including his health, emotional well-being, thoughts, and actions. Drugs don’t cause fatal wrecks, people do. To say the marijuana or the Xanax or the combination of drugs is at fault, is to lay blame inappropriately. Those drugs did not force themselves upon Josh Wittig. He chose to pump his system full of those substances, then he chose to get behind the wheel, and he chose not to accept responsibility for those actions by pleading “Not Guilty”. Josh Wittig is at fault. Not the drugs. I would say the same thing if Josh were my brother.Noone ever said John Hines was an angel. He was human. He wasn't perfect. Hemade mistakes. We all do. He could be stubborn and sometimes hard toget along with, but that was generally only when someone was full ofBS, being lazy, or acting without integrity. You knew exactly what Johnthought of you, like it or not, and chances are if you were full of BS, lazy, or out of integrity, he called you on it, and you might not like that so much. What people WILL say and what Johnproved in the way he lived his life every single day was this: He washonest, authentic, dependable, generous, out-of-his-way helpful, loving, fun, highly intelligent, hard-working, supportive,and funny as hell. He had more integrity in his little toe than mostpeople have in their whole beings. He stepped up to the plate andbecame a better father than most. He worked hard, earned everything heowned, and paid for every mistake he made with his head held high...Ibelieve these are the points my father was making. John would have gladlypaid for his BAC (believe me, none of us are happy about that stat) that night with a DUI rather than death, but the factsremain as I stated them above: John's actions were of no fault, and his BAC had no bearing onthat wreck. Had he been 100% sober, the results would have been thesame...he'd still be dead. The major difference to note here is this: if John had ended up in Josh's shoes, hewould have been more concerned about the victim and victim's family than with how much trouble he might be in. He would have insisted upon pleading GUILTY, writtenletters and given formal statements of apology to the family immediately, and offered to do any andeverything he could to make his mistakes right. He would never have said at any point that he "Didn't know why he's in jail just because some guy died", made false statementson the stand and dragged the victim's family and his own family througha worse hell for HIS CHOICES than the circumstances already warranted.Drunk/high/sober aside, he would have accepted PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITYfrom the very beginning for the consequences of his actions, no matter if those consequences (death of another human being)were intended or not, and he would have faced all of this like a man.Had John ended up in Josh's shoes, our family would have been heartbroken and sick as I'm certain Josh's family is (for their pain, I'm truly very sorry), but we would NOT have tried to reduce bond to get him out. We would have stood by John as he openly admitted his mistakes, ACCEPTED RESPONSIBILITY for his actions, and plead guilty. That's exactly what we would have done and what he would have done. But you'll have to take my word for it. John's not here to give his side, and that's not the way things went. I'm sorry Josh has created this hell for himself and his family, and my hope for him is that he learns, grows and becomes a better person for it. That's the most benevolent outcome possible with the reality of things as they are. Moving on...

Corey Donahue
Corey Donahue

Hey hey we are all fucked! Colorado citizens the government will take your blood when ever they feel like it. HB-1261 has been amended in the Senate Appropriations Committee to the original bill with the 5 ng/ml blood draw.

This is Senator Betty Boyd's home phone number she is the democratic Senate president pro-temp and of the sponsors of HB-1261 call her today because they can take any mother's blood with this bill. (303) 986-4194

anonymouse
anonymouse

Makes me sick to see Dr. Starritt's name dragged through the mud. Surely she didn't prescribe him all the opiates!

bigriggs
bigriggs

Put this drug abuser away for a long, long time.

trickJames
trickJames

The pharmies in his system negate any MMJ argument. Anyone whose taken any of those prescriptions knows that any one of them are dangerous to drive on, much less 3. The pot is anecdotal at that point..

Oo
Oo

Oh Xanax, Valium, and Percocet? Nothing to see here, those drugs would never cause any impairment or anything like that.

Wow. People are so fucking stupid.

Honestly I don't know if people are less informed about Marijuana, or Benzos.

Matt in Boulder
Matt in Boulder

Here's the quote you should have seen from Jerry Peters, but never will -

"We're trying to see if there's a loophole in the system that hasn't been recognized where people are trying to buy PRESCRIPTION NARCOTICS illegally..."

Frank H. Hines
Frank H. Hines

 TO CS: I heard you are a drug addict just like JW. Going by the time you post and your rhetoric you must stay up late on drugs, it sure as heck isn't from working.

Frank H. Hines
Frank H. Hines

John was taken from "here" because someone took drugs all day and then ran over him.  Have you not heard the verdict? Frank Hines

STaylor
STaylor

Oops did you forget that people would be able to see your true colors? Is that why you deleted your comment?

Rochead66
Rochead66

everybody makes mistakes and you and your family is not the only one in pain. John was not perfect either and we all know what his BAC was that night. .23 - 3 times the law alcohol limit. You are not to happy about that....well this is not the first time he has either gotton behind a wheel or on his bike and rode home drunk? IS IT! NO I didn't think so. And the friends and whom ever( your self) he was with that night didn't give a shit about him drinking and driving then and even in the past. Lets not pass judgement no one is perfect including JW that made the wrong choices that night on the same night your brother made a choice. Just like the DA and the Lawyer said had niether one of them either been high and or drunk this probably would have not happen but who is to know only GOD would know not me or you. You don't have no clue what JW is going thru you are not in his shoes or NEVER have been so slow your row on this.YOU NEED TO LET YOUR BROTHER REST ALREADY, writing things back and forth is not solving a damn thing except hurt, pain and frustation. God Bless all your family but you are not a nice person talking shit all the time it makes me wonder if that is true that you say that your brother was very respectful man.And if so then where did you come from because you got a lot of hate and anger. LET IT GO SISTER ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

bigriggs
bigriggs

Lscisneros...I never said a word about Hines being innocent of anything. Try reading my posts again. I have zero sympathy for drug abusers at all. You say the kid was 18. That means he was old enough to know the risks he was taking. He obviously didn't care about anything but getting high.

bigriggs
bigriggs

Rochead66....never been arrested. Maybe the person that was killed was not all that innocent but the scum that killed him was a drug abuser and high as a kite when the accident occured.

Xphine
Xphine

why not just send him into a proper treatment program, have him monitered through a halfwayhouse with daily ua and ba's, then possibly in ten years maybe let him drive...if he can stay sober he deserves a second chance. im he can/t then let the system take care of him the way u said.

Ramirez5280
Ramirez5280

nobody cares what you have to say Frank.....notice NOBODY cared about your post!!!! we get it that he is gone!!! leave it be already!!!

Frank H. Hines
Frank H. Hines

Our true colors is something you will never understand.  Frank Hines

Frank H. Hines
Frank H. Hines

Rockfead66, Thank  you for what you said in the post down below. There was no place to reply on it so I put mine here. It's misfortunate for both families and friends, and yes I believe you. I assume that you are an uncle or cousin.  Sincerely, Frank Hines  5-17-11

Frank H. Hines
Frank H. Hines

Tell me who in your family that knew JW was a dope addict (your self) and let him drive. Frank Hines 

Frank H. Hines
Frank H. Hines

The DA's office never said that about John. The defense lawyer would and did say anything.  We did not put JW's shoes on him, he did. The shoe bussiness is a two way street. I can answer my own question too. Did JW turn off Colorado and drive on the wrong side of the Thornton Pkwy? YES. Did he nearly hit headon another car? YES. Did John drink that night? Evidently he did. I would kick his butt if I could for doing so, but did John kill someone? NO. It was proven that if anyone else was in John's place, including you, in a car or motorcycle JW would have hit them. One second is not enough time for anyone to react. It was JW that crossed over and killed someone, not John or any one of us. As for me writing here I will set the record straight if I deem it necessary. John had never been in a traffic accident before. It is a tragedy for everyone involved. If you think stating facts is talking s...  take it up with the court system. As the Judge said, "John Hines is not on trial". We did nothing wrong, including John, to create this situation. No one will emply accurately otherwise. We will be the judges of our emotions, including SISTER, not you. I will thank for blessing our family, and we yours.  Frank Hines It was proven that if anyone else was in John's place, including you, in a car or motorcycle JW would have hit them. One second is not enough time for anyone to react. It was JW that crossed over and killed someone, not John or any one of us. As for me writing here I will set the record straight if I deem it necessary. John had never been in a traffic accident before. It is a tragedy for everyone involved. If you think stating facts is talking s...  take it up with the court system. As the Judge said, "John Hines is not on trial". We did nothing wrong, including John, to create this situation. No one will emply accurately otherwise. We will be the judges of our emotions, including SISTER, not you. I will thank for blessing our family, and we yours.  Frank Hines

Frank H. Hines
Frank H. Hines

IN REPLY TO Milehigh303 WHATEVER YOUR REAL NAME IS: YOU SAY HE IS NOT INNOCENT, YOU ARE RIGHT, HE'S DEAD FROM NO FAULT OF HIS OWN. It was proven that John Hines' actions or conduct had nothing to do with JW killing him. John was traveling 33 to 35 MPH in his lane. JW was traveling 52 MPH swerving into John's lane in one second time. The reaction time of anyone is proven to be at least 1.6 seconds before an action can be taken. This was proven in court last week. It was also proven that if John was in the far right lane he would have been hit by the middle of the Nissan instead of the passenger side. No person in John's place in perfect mental and physical condition could have avoided being killed, even with a helmet and all the protective gear in the world. The impact was MUCH too great to survive. JW had FOUR different drugs in his system, anyone of which was way over the intoxication level. The combination of all FOUR drugs multiplied the intoxication level by at least TEN, stated in court by a state expert, to put JW in the condition at the time of the the wreak. All of this was proven by toxicology and accident reconstruction experts with many years of training and experience. As for some of JW's "friends" and their comments and rhetoric speaks loudly for the type of company he kept, not the type of references or support I would want. You can only wish to have friends the high caliber that John had and was. I reframed from writing anything here until the trial was over, even knowing many of these facts months ago. Silence is often a very good bate to catch the slow and shallow. I put John to work on the farm and ranch when he was 11 years old. He worked 14 hour days tractor driving, hitching and unhitching to 1000 gallon Anhydrous Ammonia tanks to a 41 foot chisel plow by himself, a dangerous procedure in itself. He hoed cotton in the Texas heat and many other jobs. He never tore anything up or got into the fence. He was very responsible then as he was up until his death. He made it on his own working for me, for an auto parts house in Childress, Texas then for one in Lubbock, Texas where he also bartented. He put in security systems and bar tended in Abilene, Tx. We have heard from friends from all of of these places telling how he impacted their lives by his support and friendship. In 1999 he came to stay with us for about six months and help with the farming. He rebuilt my wheat drills [planters] and we planted wheat. He also helped work cattle. In January 2000 he moved to Arvada to work for the Stevinson Toyota family in Lakewood up till he was killed 10-01-10. The friends and stories of friendship are too numerous to mention. John was a firm hand shake, look you in the eye, yes sir, no sir type of guy. You knew where you stood with him. You had something to say you said it to his face. You could judge him by his friends, they are just like him. Two days after John's death, my 84 year mother fell in her bedroom, couldn't get up, I picked her up and put he back on her bed. I told her "I don't have anyone to pick me up anymore." Then his mother and I drove to Denver to help start the final process that Sunday mourning October 3, 2010. I am John Page Hines' father Frank H. Hines 5-9-2011

NY_Mommy
NY_Mommy

Try telling that to the dead man's family. I wonder if you would feel the same if he killed your mother/sister/father/child, ect. This asshole killed somebody. If he needs treatment, fine, he can get it after he pays for his crimes. Period.

bigriggs
bigriggs

He killed somebody because he is a pathetic drug abuser. His treatment program should consist of 20 yrs in prison.

nelly
nelly

So what you are saying is that he shouldn't pay for the fact that he KILLED someone?? He should be locked away for a long time. John Hines didn't deserve to die because of some drug abuser. Justice should be found for John Hines.

Frank H. Hines
Frank H. Hines

If no one cares then why do you keep responding. You care but for all the wrong reasons." NOBODY cared about my posts" is because they should know I am right, besides my posts may be too long for them to understand. I will never leave it alone. You know who I am and should know why I will never "leave it", and no you don't "get it". I have no way of knowing who anybody is without them telling me. Do you expect me to ever just forget about it? 

Rochead66
Rochead66

Mr Hines, ALL I have to say is god bless your family for the pain and the suffering that you all are going thru. We truly mean no harm and we are not going to respond no more to all the accusations that keep occurring on Westword, I just wished that I could have been there that night to prevent all the heartaches that happen that night. Just like you said if you would have known that your son was drinking that night you probably would have kicked his butt and vise versa would go for JW. But unfortunatly neither you your family or ours were. We are all in pain and hurt and sorrow for your family as we are for the Wittig family. This is a heartache for all and as you know your family is human and hurting just as well as the Wittig family. God Bless and even though you might not believe it WE do pray every day for peace for both families and as time goes on time will heal all pain. sincerly rochead 66..................... 

Frank H. Hines
Frank H. Hines

You would be the one to know about Meth and other drugs, and no work, PUNK. FYVM FrankH. Hines

Frank H. Hines
Frank H. Hines

To PUNKJohn Got Mashed by someone like you. You will end up and I do mean end up like JW. You want to say this to me in person, come on down if you are not a CS coward. I refuse to continue to be polite to scum sucking, baby raping, pig sucking, no bathing, no wiping, perverted, lazy, gutless, stinking, thieving, drug addict, cheating, back stabbing, lying sacks of shit like you. In Cal. with the HAs you would be eating street curb, PUNK.   Frank H. Hines 5-21-12

Vfhines
Vfhines

The same goes for this low ife CS punk. Frank H. Hines

Frank H. Hines
Frank H. Hines

As in 'fucked up" you mean murdered. You are a  "fucked up" low life, welfare , no workiing waste of a humanoid waste in real life that has not, and will not ever amount to anything. You are also a CS coward. Your mother is proud of you I'm sure. It is obvious you are a druggy. I know I am right, and you know I am right also.  Humanoids that think and act like you are as sorry as they come. You will steal or lie to get what you want. I've known the likes of you in the past, and do not associate with your kind. I am better than you, and John was 100% better than you in every aspect. Get a job and grow up.

Smash
Smash

just a drunk texas asshole

Ramiez5280
Ramiez5280

ya but imagine if that boy was a son,nephew, cousin ect. to you!!! an he happen to make a mistake?? how would u feel about that?? an know that dead man was not innocent knowing he had an alchol level 3 times the legal amount!!! than how would u feel

Lscisneros
Lscisneros

BIG FAT ASS!! YOU SURE GOT ALOT TO SAY!! We all know no one and I mean NO ONE was innocent October 1st. Everyone Deserve a 2nd chance. Come on this kid was only 18! Everyone makes mistakes. So stop acting like John Hines never did!! Nobody IS PERFEC!!!!

Rochead66
Rochead66

hey big fella it sounds like you been there and done the prison life with a name like that...Lets not forget Alchol level of a .23 was a accident waiting to happen getting on a bike drunk! And very not innocent as recently just got off probation from a previous DUI and did he learn NO because he still repeated what he RECENTLY was on probation for.

Milehigh303
Milehigh303

YEAH LETS NOT ALSO FORGET HINES WAS WAY DRUNK HIMSELF SO HE IS NOT INNOCENT

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