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See what VB jury saw: Video shows what happened to convict driver of manslaughter in DWI-marijuana case

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — It was a crucial piece of evidence in what could be a landmark DWI-manslaughter case involving marijuana.

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Because no presumptive standard exists for marijuana impairment, the jury in the case of Nathan Poole, 26 had to rely on video captured shortly after he ran over two women with his pickup truck.

Jury sets precedent on marijuana impairment in VB fatal vehicle-pedestrian trial

And now, 10 On Your Side has the surveillance and police bodycam video that was shown to the jury.

The fourth Monday of August 2022 was a happy afternoon for Rosa and Concepcion Blanco until about 4 p.m. The cousins were celebrating Rosa’s recent birthday at Tupelo Honey restaurant in Town Center.

Poole had just picked up a dress for his girlfriend at David’s Bridal.

The two women had just left the corner restaurant and were on the curb, preparing to cross Constitution Drive. Several vehicles passed, making the left from Main Street, and they entered the crosswalk.Poole’s Chevy Silverado pickup struck both of them with his grille, running them over completely.

Rosa Blanco, 76 was killed instantly, and Concepcion Blanco, 79 had life-threatening injuries and spent the next five weeks at Sentara Norfolk General.

“The light had just turned green,” Poole told an officer. “I looked at them, I nodded. I looked down at the GPS for half a second.”

Poole told another officer who specializes in DWI arrests that he smokes marijuana, and she began giving him enhanced field sobriety tests, designed to look for indicators of marijuana use.

That officer testified during the trial she has made more than 500 DWI arrests. Poole did well on some of the tests, but failed others, including heel-to-toe, standing on one leg and touching the tip of his nose.

At trial, a toxicologist testified that Poole’s blood had high levels of THC, the psychoactive substance in marijuana. The THC and other compounds would have significant adverse effect on attention, judgment and reaction time.

But that expert doctor couldn’t give an opinion whether she thought Poole was too high to drive, because unlike the blood-alcohol threshold of .08, there is no equivalent standard for blood-marijuana. That was up to the jury, and they decided Poole was in fact impaired, convicting him of DWI-manslaughter and DWI causing serious permanent injury.

Poole faces up to 20 years at sentencing in August.

Both the lead prosecutor and the defense attorney said this is an important verdict, but it would be up to the General Assembly to establish a standard for impaired driving when it comes to marijuana.



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