Kenyan Man Convicted of Killing U.S. Trooper While High on Marijuana

14 November 2019

A court in the United States has convicted a Kenyan man, David Njuguna, of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Massachusetts State Trooper, Thomas Clardy.

The verdict was delivered on Wednesday and found the 33-year-old Njuguna guilty of involuntary manslaughter, misdemeanor motor vehicle homicide and operating to endanger.

RECKLESS DRIVING

According to Boston Globe, prosecutors said Njuguna was speeding when he crashed into the back of the victim's parked cruiser on March 16, 2016.

They also said marijuana was found in his car and THC (the main psychoactive compound in marijuana that gives the high sensation) was found in blood samples taken from him roughly an hour after the crash.

He was found guilty of operating an uninsured vehicle but not guilty of OUI, (A law which prohibits driving under the influence of drugs) manslaughter and felony motor vehicle homicide.

Njuguna maintained innocence claiming that he suffered a seizure, but Worcester County District Attorney insisted the 33-year-old was high on marijuana and driving recklessly in the moments before the accident.

In her ruling, Judge Janet Kenton-Walker noted that the crash that killed Thomas was caused by Njuguna's intentional reckless driving.

MAXIMUM SENTENCE

"This was not an accident as defined under the law. Mr Njuguna drove at excessive speeds, tailgated at excessive speed, passed vehicles and attempted to pass vehicles in an extremely dangerous manner by passing too closely and weaving in and out," the judge said the ruling.

"He continued to speed and then pass other vehicles with conscious disregard to obvious hazards, including Trooper Clardy's cruiser with its flashing blue lights. Without slowing down or signaling, Mr Njuguna recklessly crossed three lanes of traffic at 80 miles per hour all the way into the breakdown lane and at 80 miles per hour, crashed into the back of the cruiser," the judge further ruled.

Njuguna waived his right to a jury, leaving Kenton-Walker to preside over the 7-day trial. He will be sentenced on November 21.

Involuntary manslaughter in Massachusetts carries a maximum sentence of 20 years while misdemeanor motor vehicle homicide carries between 30 days and 2 1/2 years in jail, fines, and 15-year license revocation.

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