A bus driver who passed out on I-95 in Connecticut after eating a whole bag of Smokies Edibles Cannabis-Infused Fruit Chews won’t serve prison time for reckless endangerment, The Connecticut Post reports.
Jinhuan Chen, a bus driver, didn’t understand that the Smokies candy, above, was laced with THC because he could not speak or read English, according to his lawyer. (Image: Abillion)
A Connecticut Superior Court judge was satisfied Thursday that Jinhuan Chen was unaware that the gummies were loaded with THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, because he could not speak or read English.
Chen was ferrying a busload of Boston casino-goers back home from Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun on March 13, 2022, when he suddenly slumped behind the wheel. The bus swerved left and right before coming to a halt.
Connecticut police responded to reports of a coach crash near Exit 30 in Stratford at around 3 p.m. Upon arrival, a trooper discovered Chen unconscious in the driver’s seat, alongside the bag of Smokies Edibles.
Chen was promptly taken to Bridgeport Hospital, where tests revealed elevated levels of THC in his system. He was subsequently charged with 38 counts of reckless endangerment.
Judge Goes Easy
Judge Elizabeth Reid sentenced the 59-year-old to an accelerated rehabilitation with two years of probation. That means the 38 charges against him will be dismissed, provided he commits no other crime during the probationary period.
This potentially could have had devastating consequences, but he (Chen) immediately pulled over and called 911,” the judge said.
Assistant State’s Attorney Peter Cunniff didn’t object to the leniency of the sentence, agreeing that there was no evidence that Chen had knowingly ingested the THC.
Chen had been driving for the bus company, Go Go Sun, for 10 years, with an exemplary record, according to his employer, Victor Chen.
“He doesn’t drink, he doesn’t smoke, but he has a sweet tooth and likes candy,” Victor Chen explained to The Post last year.
Chen was lucky. In March 2011, a World Wide Tours bus en route from Mohegan Sun crashed on the outskirts of New York City, resulting in the deaths of 15 people, with dozens more injured.
The bus swerved and collided with a metal sign pole, which ripped through the vehicle, tearing off its roof. Some witnesses said that the driver, Ophadell Williams, fell asleep at the wheel. Williams denied this. He claimed he had lost control while trying to avoid a swerving tractor.
He was prosecuted on charges of criminally negligent homicide and manslaughter, but was ultimately cleared by a jury in December 2012.
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