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Police: Truck driver was distracted and had drugs in system

Regular readers of our North Carolina law blog undoubtedly recall the horrific crash last month between a Texas church bus and a pick-up truck that resulted in the deaths of 13 people.

According to recent news media reports, the driver of the truck has told law enforcement officials that he had taken medications and was texting before the crash on March 29. The collision took the lives of everyone involved except for one person on the bus and the 20-year-old driver of the large, white pick-up.

News media outlets indicate that a crash report filed by investigators says the truck driver told officials that he can taken several prescription medications before the crash in Texas hill country, about 75 miles from San Antonio. The driver said he had taken Clonazepam, Ambien and Lexapro before getting behind the wheel.

According to WebMD, Clonazepam is used to treat panic attacks, while Ambien is a sedative-hypnotic that helps with insomnia and Lexapro "is used to treat depression and anxiety."

The driver said he took the three medications and was also distracted by his phone when the fatal collision occurred. An investigator indicated in his report that the man's driving indicates that intoxication was involved.

In addition, a law enforcement officer said she found two unsmoked marijuana cigarettes and five more that had been partially smoked.

News reports do not say whether officials believe the pick-up driver was high on marijuana at the time of the fatal crash.

Another driver captured images of the pick-up swerving in and out of a lane before it slammed into the bus carrying senior citizen members of the New Braunfels First Baptist Church.

In far too many cases, we see that drivers who have taken prescription medications that affect judgment and awareness are out on the road. Couple those powerful drugs with distraction and you have a recipe for disaster, which is exactly what happened in this instance.

Accident victims and their families can speak with a Charlotte personal injury attorney about legal action to hold reckless drivers responsible for the damage they have done.

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