Prosecutor says driver was using marijuana when car hit Bird Rock teens
A 66-year-old man was “recklessly and dangerously under the influence” of marijuana when he crashed his car onto a La Jolla sidewalk and bakery last August, injuring three teens and two adults, a prosecutor said Thursday.
Ronald Troyer’s car went over a roundabout on La Jolla Boulevard, jumped a curb, struck the teens, sheared off a utility box and smashed into the Cass Street Cafe & Bakery, where the adults were injured, Deputy District Attorney David Uyar said.
“It’s chaos because people are screaming, people are hurt, people are wondering what happened,” Uyar said in his opening statement.
The defendant emerged from the wreckage claiming his car was stolen and he wasn’t driving, the prosecutor said. He said Troyer had to be prevented from leaving the scene twice and later tested positive for the active ingredient of marijuana in his bloodstream.
The defendant is accused of driving under the influence of drugs causing great bodily injuries, reckless driving causing injuries, failing to perform his duties following an accident that caused permanent injuries and driving on a suspended license.
Defense attorney David Thompson told jurors in his opening statement that his client smoked marijuana nearly every morning, and had such a small amount in his system that there was no way it could have caused his behavior leading up to, and after, the crash.
Just before the crash, on Aug. 15 around 6:30 p.m., Troyer noticed a tingling and unusual taste in his mouth, which experts will testify is sometimes a precursor to a seizure, Thompson said.
The lawyer told jurors that Troyer’s “horrible performance” in field sobriety tests following the crash were inconsistent with the amount of marijuana he smoked.
Troyer faces about 12 years in prison if convicted in the trial before Judge William Kronberger Jr.
Uyar previously told a judge that Troyer was convicted twice in 2005 for driving under the influence. He also has convictions in 2006, 2007 and 2008 for driving with a suspended license, according to DMV records.
(via La Jolla Light)