Portland driver facing manslaughter charges suspected of smoking - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland driver facing manslaughter charges suspected of smoking marijuana behind the wheel

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Jacob Walters Jacob Walters

Gresham Police said a driver was smoking pot behind the wheel right before he hit a woman. That woman later died at a hospital.

Court documents said the driver, Jacob Walters, 27, told police he felt a little high.

Gresham Police said it's the first crash they've had since Oregon legalized pot this summer, where the driver is accused of being high on pot. They're still trying to figure out the degree of alleged impairment in this case and how much of a factor it may have been in this crash.

Moments into his first court appearance, deputies put Walters in handcuffs and led him off to jail. 

Walters is charged with second-degree manslaughter, reckless driving and reckless endangerment for a crash that claimed the life of Elizabeth Kemble, 46.

Gresham Police said Walters was driving a Toyota Prius east on Burnside when he crashed into Kemble just after 8 a.m. on Monday. Investigators said she was in the crosswalk at NE 181st and the impact sent her flying 35 feet.

One witness told police they saw Walters smoking what appeared to be pot seconds before the crash.

Walters, who stayed at the scene, was alone in the car.

Court documents said there are conflicting reports about whether Walters had a yellow or a red light. Investigators are still trying to figure out if his alleged impairment was enough to cause the crash that claimed Kemble's life.

Police told FOX 12 Kemble was a three-time kidney transplant recipient. 

A Gresham Police spokesman told me it's a challenge to determine impairment for marijuana, one they hope State lawmakers will help clarify.

Walters is due back in court later this month.

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