1 year in jail for pot user in crash that killed 4

A southwestern Michigan woman blamed for a crash that killed four church members on an icy road has been sentenced to one year in jail for driving under the influence of marijuana.
AP Wire
Jan 28, 2014

Ashley Baker, 27, of Watervliet also received five years' probation at sentencing Monday in Van Buren County Circuit Court in Paw Paw.

Authorities said Baker's van failed to stop at a stop sign in February 2013 and struck a car carrying the four women on a rural road, about 40 miles southwest of Kalamazoo.

The victims were Keeler Baptist Church members returning from a restaurant. The crash killed 67-year-old Celeste Phillips of Hartford and her three passengers: 56-year-old Lou Ann Holcomb of Hartford, 51-year-old Charlotte Sieber of Hartford and 56-year-old Kathryn Maya of Kalamazoo.



It would be nice if this article had more information.


But I thought all the potheads said that driving while high doesn't kill people? Huh....


What is the point of your comment?

Former Grandhavenite

Yeah, this article seems light on detail. For example, how did they know she was under the influence at the time of the crash? They used to just give people a blood or urine test, but that's been proven to only detect whether or not you've smoked in the past 30 days, and makes about as much sense as charging someone with DUI based on a beer they drank two weeks ago.


Googled Ashley Baker Trial....Attorney says icy roads caused crash, not marijuana. The deputies did not notice any impairment in her speech or her abilities and found no evidence of drug use in her van. There was a blood test that showed that she had some THC in her system and she gave inconsistent answers about the frequency of her use of marijuana. That was enough evidence to convict her according to the prosecutor. Because she was not visibly impaired at the time of the crash and no paraphernalia was found in her van I would find her not guilty and just ticket her for going through a stop sign. It is unreasonable to expect anyone who smokes pot to wait for 30 days before they can once again drive a motor vehicle. Waiting two hours for the effects to wear off is a very good idea in my opinion.


Thank you this is exactly the info I was looking for. The tribune needs to stop publishing half articles. I dont understand why she was subjected to testing if she was not visibily impaired. Seems like an illegal move by the police.

Tri-cities realist

Businesses have been using the oral swab method of detecting THC (or actually its broken down components, I believe) for years. It apparently only detects use in approximately the last 24 hours. Why don't police use this method? Or why didn't the accused ask for it, to prove she wasn't under the influence. While the test isn't perfect at detecting whether someone is under the influence since it can detect up to 24 hours prior, it is the best available test of which I am aware.


The use of oral fluid drug tests in the workplace is considered a violation in many states and federal laws. The low saliva-plasma ratio continues to be the main cause of difficulty in detecting drugs specifically THC and benzodiazepines. The very small window of detection which is placed at a maximum of 6 to 12 hours also makes the Saliva-Based Drug Test Kit results highly unreliable. There are also many offered adulteration products which are easily accessible for the purpose of avoiding drug detection through the saliva.

Former Grandhavenite

Trib site is still running very slow and not always registering comments. Nothing to see here, you may go about your business, these aren't the droids you're looking for.

Tri-cities realist

Thanks for the info. I'm no expert on the matter and never worried about the results. Now if it would have showed a positive, I would want to understand why the test showed a false positive.


Sounds like it was the road's fault to me!


Why do they make the point to say "Church goers." Is this supposed to make the stoner look worse because they killed people who go to church? Maybe if the ladies didn't go to Church they would still be alive?

Former Grandhavenite

It's the same way whenever anything bad happens to a kid, or a kid commits some crime, people come out of the woodwork to say, "But he/she was a straight A student!" as if that somehow makes them a more worthwhile human being. I really don't care about the religious persuasion or academic prowess of someone who's just been killed- it's a tragedy apart from any of that.

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