A preliminary report released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that the teenage driver in the fatal collision from March tested negative for alcohol but positive for cannabis after her death.
All six girls, students at Tishomingo High School in Oklahoma, were killed when the small car they were in collided with a large truck.
Lawyer Speaks Out
“Instead of wanting something to point the finger at, I think we really need to be sympathetic and empathetic to these families and be compassionate for them,” said DUI defense attorney Sabah Khalaf. “It’s just a tragedy.”
Khalaf, recognized as one of Oklahoma’s leading DUI and criminal defense attorneys, said there isn’t much relevance to these preliminary reports.
Was Cannabis To Blame?
“Just because there was an amount found in her system doesn’t mean that she was in any way impaired and any way under the influence,” he said, per the local ABC News. “It’s really easy to point fingers, but realistically there hasn’t been quantitative analysis done on it and there won’t likely be one and so you can’t just say that’s the reason.”
Khalaf referred to a 2017 report to Congress by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that explains how marijuana interacts with the body and can remain in someone’s system long after psychoactive effects have worn off.
Khalaf said toxicology reports could be used if the families decide to move forward with a civil suit. At this time there has been no indication that the families of the six girls are intending to do that.
Tragedy During School Lunch Break
The teenagers were on their lunch break in a Chevrolet Spark – a car designed to carry four passengers - when the crash happened. The NTSB's preliminary report also stated the 16-year-old driver had been issued an intermediate driver's license six months before the crash. Under that license, she was only legally permitted to have one passenger from outside her household unless there was someone who was at least 21 in the car. All six girls were minors.
According to the report, the teenager driving had turned left at a stop sign when her car was struck by an oncoming truck. The truck's driver was not injured and tested negative for alcohol and drugs, the NTSB report said.
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