Police say Lynden driver admitted to smoking pot before fatal crash

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LYNDEN — Investigators are trying to figure out if a deadly accident outside Lynden was caused by a driver who was high on marijuana.

Flowers have been left at the site where 18-year-old Desirae Garrison Jones died Friday night. She was the passenger in a car that lost control and hit a power pole on West Badger Road.

The driver of that car, 20-year-old Curtis Guerrero Marquez, is now in custody for vehicular homicide.

“We have is a deceased 18-year-old because of this person’s driving,” Washington State Patrol trooper Keith Leary said. “It shouldn’t have happened.”

photoTroopers are still trying to figure out exactly what happened.  Police say that after the crash, Guerrero Marquez admitted to taking marijuana and some cold medicine.

“There was a search warrant issued and blood obtained from that driver,” Leary said.

Investigators are still waiting for the results, and the report from the drug recognition expert who responded to the crash. But this is the second deadly crash in a week that police say was caused by a driver who allegedly admitted he was high.

In the other crash, Blake Gaston, 23, was killed when a car turned in front of his motorcycle in Bellevue Friday. Police said Caleb Floyd, 33, told officers he had a medical marijuana card and had smoked pot before the crash.

“We have to remember that marijuana is still a drug, and it can potentially put you under the influence,” Leary said. “It’s going to impair your ability to drive a vehicle.”

Troopers say they’ve responded to crashes caused by drug-impaired drivers for years. But they’re afraid it’s going to become more common now that marijuana has been legalized in the state for those over 21.  They hope these crashes will help people understand how serious the consequences can be.

“Regardless of what’s legal or not legal, you don’t get behind the wheel. It’s as simple as that.”

Police said the driver in the Lynden crash also said he was racing another vehicle Friday night. Investigators are trying to figure out if that was true. He could face additional charges if that was a factor in the crash, and if his blood tests come back over the legal limit for marijuana.

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