Report: Driver in Vermont Crash that Killed 5 had High Drug Level
WATERBURY, VT (AP) — A man accused of driving the wrong way and causing a crash that killed five teenagers in Vermont last year had elevated levels of a marijuana compound in his system, according to a toxicology report released by the state.
Steven Bourgoin, 37, pleaded not guilty to five counts of murder in the Williston, Vermont, crash on Interstate 89. Police said he caused the crash before stealing a police cruiser and causing more crashes. He awaits trial.
The report, released by state police in Waterbury on Monday and first reported by The Times Argus, shows Bourgoin had 10 nanograms of THC — the chemical in marijuana that makes people high — in his system hours after the crash on Oct. 8, 2016. Any level of the drug in Vermont is against the law. Some states have set specific driver limits for THC. In Colorado, it is 5 nanograms.
"Effects of marijuana use on driving ability may include weaving, inattention, poor coordination and slowed reaction time with increased error rates in complex tasks," said the report prepared by Willow Grove, Pennsylvania-based NMS Labs.
The report found fentanyl and midazolam also were found in Bourgoin's system. The Department of Public Safety said they could be "therapeutic levels."
Four Harwood Union High School students and a friend who attended Kimball Union Academy in New Hampshire were killed. They were driving from a concert in South Burlington.
Court documents say Bourgoin was facing foreclosure of his home and other financial difficulties, as well as legal proceedings for domestic issues and a custody dispute with his ex-girlfriend over their 2-year-old daughter.