Report: Driver in wrong-way crash that killed 5 teens had elevated THC in system

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The Vermont man accused of causing a crash that killed five teenagers had elevated levels of THC in his system, according to a toxicology report released this week.

The drug report, which was first reported by the Times Argus, shows that Steven Bourgoin, 37, of Williston, had 10 nanograms of THC—the active ingredient in marijuana—in his blood system.

The blood sample was taken at 5:45 a.m. on October 9, nearly six hours after the crash, which police say happened at around 11:50 p.m. on October 8, 2016.

Police and prosecutors have refused to release the toxicology results until now.

“We’ve known since his pending domestic case that he was a regular marijuana user so him having marijuana in his system was absolutely no surprise to us,” said Sarah George, Chittenden County State’s Attorney.

The report shows Bourgoin also had levels of fentanyl, an opioid pain medication, and midazolam, a depressant, in his system. The Vermont Department of Public Safety says those levels “could be therapeutic levels.”

George said, “”It’s hard to know what those other drugs in his system are, whether they were given to him by the hospital stuff like that, what they really are and what they do.”

In Vermont, any level of THC when a person shows signs of impairment is against the law. In Colorado, where marijuana is legal, the THC blood limit is five nanograms per milliliter of blood.

By Colorado standards, Bourgoin was twice the legal limit.

Despite George’s wishes and countless public record requests, the report was released. Retired Vermont Superior Court judge and state representative Ben Joseph was one of those calling for its release.

“I’ve heard from various sources that the defendant in this case had a very high thc content in his blood which impaired his driving,” explained Joseph.

The democrat said this sort of information is critical in a state that is on the verge of legalizing recreational marijuana, “We shouldn’t pretend this stuff isn’t harmful, this is very harmful stuff so i am hoping that people will see that and understand and the people in the legislature will get the point.”

George said her office contacted the victim’s families prior to the report’s release, “Everyday is hard for them so anytime that something like this happens and its back in the media, they relive it all again.”

Police say Bourgoin, 37, was driving the wrong-way on I-89 in Williston when he crashed into a car, killing five teenagers. He then stole a police cruiser before crashing into several other vehicles, police said.

Bourgoin has pleaded not guilty to various charges, including five counts of second-degree murder in the crash.

Mary Harris, 16, of Moretown; Cyrus Zschau,16, of Moretown; Liam Hale, 16, of Fayston; Janie Cozzi,15, of Fayston; and Eli Brookens,16, of Waterbury, died in the crash.

According to court documents, Bourgoin was facing financial difficulties, as well as domestic and custody issues with his ex-girlfriend.

Local 22 & Local 44 reached out to Bourgoin’s lawyer Bob Katims about the toxicology report. He said no comment.

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