Marijuana: Are new pot smokers an even bigger danger when they drive high?

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Big photos below.
Even before the passage of Amendment 64, which allows adults age 21 and over to use and possess small amounts of marijuana, law-enforcement agencies have campaigned against driving under the influence of drugs, even though, from a statistical standpoint, alcohol-related DUIs dwarf pot-related ones.

This weekend, Arvada's Keith Kilbey became a part of the debate after crashing into Colorado State Patrol vehicles investigating an earlier crash. Photos and details about the incident and more below.

Just prior to 9 p.m. on Saturday, January 11, according to the CSP, two troopers were investigating a crash on the ramp from I-76 to northbound I-25. In an effort to do so safely, they'd positioned their vehicles -- a Ford Crown Victoria and a Dodge Charger -- in a manner intended to block the left lane of the ramp.

The emergency lights on the rides were activated, so presumably they should have been easy to see. But somehow, Kilbey, 23, who was behind the wheel of a Chevrolet truck, didn't notice them. He allegedly smacked into the Crown Vic, pushing it into the Charger.

Here's one CSP photo from the scene....

colorado.state.patrol.driving.under.influence.of.drugs.1.jpg
...and another....

colorado.state.patrol.driving.under.influence.of.drugs.2.jpg
...and one more:

colorado.state.patrol.driving.under.influence.of.drugs.3.jpg
Shortly thereafter, says CSP spokesman Officer Nate Reid, Kilbey was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs -- namely, marijuana.

"Suspicion" is the key word here, since blood test results for THC take much longer to process than those involving alcohol.

Neither of the troopers at the scene were injured, unlike a trooper in Gilpin County back on January 4, who had to be hospitalized after his car was hit by an SUV piloted by Westminster's David Kaai in a wreck that wasn't weed-related.

Still, spokesman Reid is worried that more wipe-outs of the sort that took place on Saturday could be in the offing if people insist on driving high.

"Everybody knows that driving under the influence is illegal," he says. "And just like alcohol is legal when it's used away from a vehicle and away from driving, marijuana is now legal away from driving, too. But when you mix the two, it can be dangerous.

"Luckily, no one was hurt this time. But there are people who have been injured in the past and will be injured in the future because of this."

In Reid's view, those who driving after trying marijuana for the first time, or the first time in a long while, are a particular concern.

"If people who maybe aren't used to what marijuana does to them use it and then get in their car, it can turn out badly," he allows. "Just because you feel okay, it can still have an effect on the way you drive. And if you put yourself behind a 3,000 pound vehicle after you ingest something when you don't know the effect on your body, it can be very dangerous."

And not just for the marijuana user.

"Our troopers and a lot of other emergency personnel work on the highways," he says. "So if someone's not paying attention and their ability to operate a vehicle is adjusted by marijuana or alcohol, that puts people at risk who are trying to get us back on the road -- tow-truck drivers, sheriffs deputies, and regular citizens, too."

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our News archive circa August 2011: "Drug enforcement checkpoint on I-25: Five tickets, two arrests out of 32 stops."

My Voice Nation Help
107 comments
ZZardozz
ZZardozz

Of course, if his test comes up negative, we will probably never hear of this matter again.   But I do think that people who are new to cannabis would be better off not driving. 

Steve Santus
Steve Santus

Any way you could work the word "hipster" into this story, westword?

Jason Wagner
Jason Wagner

So was the driver high? Maybe I missed it but the article just said the police had suspicion.

Jeffrey Grubesic
Jeffrey Grubesic

I know a guy who has been stoned behind the wheel literally since the day he got his license, and the only wreck he was ever in was the fault of that damned Makers Mark.

Gabriel J. Gonzales
Gabriel J. Gonzales

I see a bunch of people smoking while driving.... All sorts of people from the stereo typical hippie kids, upper class business men, blue collar work force etc.

Dale Pellerin
Dale Pellerin

I agree with you, Virginia and get your point. I have never smoked it but frankly, have never needed to. But, I respect the rights of others too and believe that the ill effects are far outweighed by the positives. For me, it has always been more about what will decriminalization mean? It opens the door for the true pioneers in medical marijuana such as Dr. Melamed to have more liberty to perform cancer research. That is the real win here. Secondly, it's a representation of Republican politics at its best at the root of the platform with the voice of the people being heard and demanding compliance to their wishes regardless of federal law. That is a huge win for the civil liberties of everyone.

Greg Jabuki DeRuckus
Greg Jabuki DeRuckus

good post. The point is that it DOES impair driving and definitely doesn't improve it no matter what justifications people like to tell themselves. You also have to keep in mind the percent of people that drink vs smoke when looking at that information. Even though most pot smokers like to think that EVERYONE is out there sparking up the truth is it's less then 10% of the population. I personally don't think decriminalizing thc will mean a massive increase in it's use but it will undeniably result in some increase. More then anything this thread topic is a real concern because of the number of tourist users amendment 64 will attract. http://www.gallup.com/poll/163835/tried-marijuana-little-changed-80s.aspx

Greg Jabuki DeRuckus
Greg Jabuki DeRuckus

I would support this over other arbitrary measurement of ability. The same test should be given to get your license and if someone is pulled over for ability concerns they should be tested within a half hour. If they fail yank their license for two weeks and up. There are way to many shitty drivers out there period. Requiring people to take a driving course and/or reinstating them with a learners permit wouldn't be bad either.

Greg Jabuki DeRuckus
Greg Jabuki DeRuckus

lol driving in fort Collins is a nightmare. you almost have to be stoned to deal with sitting in traffic. it's the land of too many cars, low speed limits, and a train going right through the center of it. the only reason people can deal with it is the town is less then 10 miles from end to end.

Greg Jabuki DeRuckus
Greg Jabuki DeRuckus

Well put and I full agree. I still am all for revoking licenses for thc levels. Plenty of people may be "capable" but then again the same argument can be used for any mind altering substance or distracting activity so I say let people take the consequences of their decisions.

Naomi Wolinsky
Naomi Wolinsky

i am so much more concerned about driver's who are drunk, texting, applying make-up, eating, or disciplining their children, than I am concerned about stoned drivers. Is this even a real question?

Wendy Dennie
Wendy Dennie

Westword has a hard-one for pot related stories in the last couple months. Get a new story line, yawn

Thinking_Clearly
Thinking_Clearly

"Shortly thereafter, says CSP spokesman Officer Nate Reid, Kilbey was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs -- namely, marijuana.

"Suspicion" is the key word here, since blood test results for THC take much longer to process than those involving alcohol."

Don't you think you ought to wait for the results before you report this stuff?
An awful lot is being taken for granted in this article.

Charles Greenberg
Charles Greenberg

the worst thing this country ever did, was repeal the 21st amendment, and I'm speaking from experience. It opened all these other doors, weather your high from pot or booze, you should not be driving, and any half-wit knows that, it's always on tv. I'm NOT saying it shouldn't be legal, just use your head.

LindaLee Law
LindaLee Law

I ride the bus; i need my medication. lol

LindaLee Law
LindaLee Law

What is amusing is to watch the Conservatives in the state legislator diddle over what constitutes DUI.. here they settle for 5 nanograms ( in the blood) what is confusing the never-would-touch- that -evil-weed-pass me the scotch, Martha, is that while thc remains in the system, one is no longer 'high'

LindaLee Law
LindaLee Law

NO they are not. Actually they are more cautious. However, it is the same bunch the 18-25 yo males who screw up and give the rest of us a bad name.

Jason Gandhi Griffin
Jason Gandhi Griffin

If you suck at driving sober, don't even try driving under the influence of anything.......I smoke at least one blunt per drive trip (from my departure point to my destination) and laugh as I watch "sober'' people drive like they playing GTA 5. It's a fucking joke. I'm sitting here like, "Man! They driving crazy as fuck, and I'm the one that's high!" Learn how to drive period.

Brian S Young
Brian S Young

ive been driving high for 30 years. its no more dangerous than driving not high. drunk and high is a different story though.

Gort
Gort

This would be the kind of low-impact dumb stoner accident I would expect to be  typical, as opposed to alcohol-fueled insane high speeds with lots of carnage. 

Ben Cochran
Ben Cochran

Fort Collins has been rated the safest driving city by the National Insurance companies (Allstate, Geico, State Farm etc..) for several years in a row and there have been plenty of stoned drivers...just a coincidence?

Angela Reali
Angela Reali

You can tell who the real stoners vs the non-stoners are on here.

Norman Dillon
Norman Dillon

High ass mofo was probably saying to himself.... "Oh look at the pretty lights" bahahahaha more of these incidents to come!

Virginia Paterson
Virginia Paterson

I am pretty happy without blowing my mind but I believe you have the right to do it if you want. But I also am not interested in contributing to any ones unemployment or other entitlements if you can't pass a drug test for employment ect. if employment requires this I do think you or anyone has the right to use any substance and also to drive or function be it alcohol or whatever, I just think whatever consequences go with this is the persons responsibility I believe in personal choice, so if you are happy doing so that is not an issue for me, I just prefer to be high on life.

Kevin Crowe
Kevin Crowe

Virginia I'm sure you have some vice, that you're too high and mighty to admit.

Derrick James Garner
Derrick James Garner

Thats not why people smoke... You can live life to the fullest and smoke marijuana. Its like drinking alcohol or smoking a cig... Do those things blow your mind? But it is funny how the idea of smoking blows your mind.... You should smoke a giant blunt and then see how blown your mind is

Virginia Paterson
Virginia Paterson

I don't care if someone drives or not but what I will never understand is how bored or unhappy is someone to have to get high on anything to start with. I understand medical use, but recreational just blows my mind, life is too short not to live in the present.

Anza Goodbar
Anza Goodbar

Isn't driving drunk more dangerous than most people who drink and drive think?

Jeff Keller
Jeff Keller

I have been smoking for 17 years and I still have a perfect driving record!

Adam Aedro Drotar
Adam Aedro Drotar

It's a lot less dangerous but dangerous nonetheless. Especially if you aren't a regular smoker.

Thomas Kenneth Dennis
Thomas Kenneth Dennis

DONT TOKE AND DRIVE i HAVE BEEN IN CARS MEANY TIMES WHEN THE DRIVER HAD A FAIL DRIVE. I have been in cars when they just take off at red lights 3 times to date.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Ben Cochran ... report that you drive while high to your insurance company, see what happens to your rates.



whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

Just keep telling yourself that until you kill someone.  Puff puff Taxi!


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Maurice Hatcher ... because you're too stoned to pay attention.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Virginia. Much appreciated.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

Plenty of people who've never smoked can't say the same, Jeff. Thanks for posting.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

Interesting. Thanks for posting, Thomas.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@michael.roberts 

Nice fluff, Fluffmaster Michael. You do know the Facebook fools can't see your fluffery from here.


mtspaceevolvs
mtspaceevolvs

@michael.roberts  I have driven thru 2 red lights high and now I know when I'm "lethal" as i call it and I don't drive, BUT...

     3 REASONS WEED IS BETTER 4 YOU THAN ALCOHOL 

1.  Alcohol doesn't let you remember how messed up you were so people can't grow/learn from their experiences.  Short term memory or not, weed allows me to remember what I did and choose to control my actions.

2.  EARTH grew plants, plants grew our lungs.  Humans make alcohol through Unnatural process, unnatural heat and unnatural chemical solvents and pressure.

3.  Stoned drivers drive slower so INJURIES from accidents WAY LESS SERIOUS.  Drunk drivers drive faster increasing level of injury exponentially.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@michael.roberts 

Interesting that Thomas can't see your reply because the Livefyre / MyVoiceNation software imports disjointed Facebook comments but doesn't export or notify the Failbook fools of any followup comments.


Keep fluffing, MIchael.


What LIES and DECEPTIONS are you going to publish today under the guise of "journalism"?




DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Reed ... yet here you are, delivering right on cue.



Reed
Reed

Not as pathetic as your daily cries for attention from strangers.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@DonkeyHotayFake <== reads every one of my posts, so infatuated and enamored with me that he even emulates my username.


How pathetic is that?

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