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Two crashes, including fatality, involve drivers who admit marijuana use

UPDATED: Thu., July 16, 2015, 6:38 p.m.

A bicyclist was killed and a motorcyclist was seriously injured in separate accidents Wednesday and in both cases the drivers who caused the accidents admitted to recently smoking marijuana.

A truck hit a bicyclist near the intersection of Mission Avenue and Rebecca around 7 p.m. Wednesday. Robert G. Hargrave, 27, was driving his pickup truck west on Mission while the cyclist was riding on the sidewalk on the south side of the street. Hargrave’s truck went across the median, across the eastbound lanes and hit the cyclist and a brick wall.

Police officers at the scene reported that Hargrave was alone in his truck when they arrived, according to court documents. One officer said that Hargrave kept pressing down on the gas even after he crashed, causing his truck tires to dig a trench in the grass. As they continued to spin, the tires were ripped off the wheels, according to court documents.

A medic at the scene told investigators that Hargrave had “pin point” pupils when they arrived at the scene. A drug recognition expert spoke to Hargrave and gave him sobriety tests at the hospital and said he believes Hargrave was under the influence of a drug.

Hargrave reportedly told investigators that he smokes marijuana every night before bed to help him sleep, according to court documents. He also said he couldn’t remember the accident and didn’t think he had been driving his truck.

He will be arrested on a vehicular homicide charge once he is released from the hospital, according to a police news release. The identity of the bicyclist has not yet been released by the Spokane County Medical Examiner.

Spokane City Councilman Jon Snyder said that Mission is one of many busy streets that are designated as shared roadways in the city’s master bike plan despite having no bike lanes.

“In reality it means nothing,” he said. “It’s not a very bike friendly street. We’ve got two lanes of fast traffic there. This person probably felt they were safer on the sidewalk.”

Snyder said that area doesn’t have many facilities for bikes, particularly on east-west routes. He has been pushing for improvements for bicyclists and pedestrians throughout the city.

“This is just such a messed up thing, to have two DUI incidents on the same day with vulnerable users, a bicyclist and a motorcyclist,” Snyder said.

The second accident happened on another busy street during rush hour. Jason M. Pederson, 35, was driving his pickup truck south on Hamilton Street just before 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and was attempting to make a left turn to go east on Augusta Street. He told police that saw a car turn west on Augusta so he assumed it was clear for him to turn east, according to court documents. He turned left in front of a northbound motorcycle, which impacted the passenger side of his truck behind the door.

The motorcyclist, identified as David E. Bradbury, sustained several broken bones and a broken hip, according to a police news release.

An officer who spoke to Pederson after the accident said that his pupils were constricted and he smelled of alcohol and marijuana. Pederson reportedly told the officer that had had smoked marijuana that morning but refused to take a field sobriety test, according to court documents.

Pederson appeared in court Thursday on a charge of vehicular assault. His bond was set at $5,000.

Police obtained search warrants to get blood samples from both drivers to test for the presence of drugs and/or alcohol.

Note: This story was changed to reflect the correct first name of Jason M. Pederson.


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