Stripper accused of killing teens on highway was using marijuana

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A 20-year-old stripper accused of running over and killing six teen-agers as they picked up trash along a freeway had been smoking marijuana before the accident, authorities said Thursday.

''She was in excess of the prohibited statute,'' said Clark County Deputy District Attorney Bruce Nelson.

Blood tests showed Jessica Williams had 5.5 nanograms per milliliter of blood in her system, he said. The limit allowed by a new Nevada law is two nanograms.

Williams admitted to smoking marijuana about two hours before Sunday's accident.

Nelson said Williams tested positive for both marijuana and THC, a substance that turns up in the blood when marijuana is ingested and the body begins breaking it down.

Williams will be charged in the next few days with six counts of driving under the influence of a controlled substance, driving while having a prohibited substance in her blood, six counts of reckless driving and six counts of involuntary manslaughter.

If convicted of all counts, Williams would only be sentenced for the six most serious charges - the felony DUI counts - since a person can't be sentenced twice for the same offense. Each DUI count carries a penalty of 2 to 20 years in prison.

Bail for Williams has been set at $5 million.

Williams, of Littlefield, Ariz., was arrested after her van plowed into a group of teen-agers, ages 14 to 16, who were part of a county work release crew picking up trash along busy Interstate 15 north of Las Vegas. The county program allows juveniles with minor offenses to work off jail time and fines.

The highway work program, which is on hold while a task force explores additional safety measures, could be scrapped.

The case against Williams will be presented to a grand jury April 11.

Before the new law took effect Oct. 1, prosecutors had a tough time linking drug usage with auto accidents. People found with certain levels of drugs in their system are now legally presumed to be impaired.

Williams' attorney, John Watkins, has said he thinks the new law is unconstitutional.


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