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What Was He Smoking?

An Oneida County driver lost consciousness under the influence of an unknown substance and triggered a three-car collision.
Police state that 25-year-old Colby Sadallah, of Utica, was operating a car without permission from the owner when he passed out while travelling westbound on Commercial Drive in New Hartford. He rear-ended another vehicle, and the force of that impact pushed the car forward into a third vehicle. First responders revived Mr. Sadallah, who was also in respiratory distress, by administering Narcan, which is a common antidote for heroin and painkiller overdoses. He was transported to a nearby hospital along with the drivers of the two other vehicles – 33-year-old Kristie Rae Stanczyk and 41-year-old Richard Bostick.
Mr. Sadllah, who is facing a variety of misdemeanor charges, is being held in the Oneida County jail.
Impaired Driving
While alcohol is the most common substance associated with impaired driving, there are number of other legal and semi-legal drugs that cause similar effects. These effects vary, but always feature a loss of physical and mental faculties that render safe driving impossible.
So-called “hard” drugs, like powder cocaine, crack cocaine, LSD, heroin, ecstasy, and other similar drugs have a widely-known debilitating effect that the jury will immediately know and appreciate. Any prior usage combined with any evidence of impairment, such as erratic driving, is normally enough to establish intoxication, because in civil court, facts need only be established by a preponderance of the evidence, which means more likely than not.
If the driver had been using a prescription painkiller or other medicine that may inhibit mental acuity or motor skills, the jury may need to hear additional evidence about its effects. Sometimes, the warning label is admissible under an exception to the hearsay rule; other times, live testimony from a doctor or other expert may be more effective.
Marijuana is a special case, because there is some evidence that cannabis does not impair drivers, at least on par with alcohol. So, if the tortfeasor (negligent driver) had been using marijuana, an expert is almost certainly required, to establish impairment and help guarantee maximum compensation for the victim.
Almost any substance impairment breaches the duty of reasonable care. For a free consultation with attorneys who fight for fair compensation, contact our office. We have six locations statewide.

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Mitchell Proner is an amazing and very experienced trial lawyer, who takes care of his clients. He represented me in a car accident case, kept me very informed during the lengthy legal process and got me the settlement that I expected. His friendly office staff was always willing to assist and answer any questions I had. I recommend Mitchell Proner to all my friends and family!

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