Driver in fatal crash with jogger had twice the legal limit of pot in his system

PORT ORCHARD — A 25-year-old man charged with vehicular homicide for fatally striking a jogger as she passed through a crosswalk in Silverdale had twice the legal limit of marijuana in his system, according to charging documents.

Scott Brian Rehmus was "running late" and also told a Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office investigator he was speeding and having trouble placing a Mountain Dew in a cup holder, admitting he took his eyes off the road for a “second or so.”

His driver’s license had been suspended in August 2016 and “should not have even been driving,” an investigator wrote.

On Tuesday, Rehmus pleaded not guilty to the charges in Kitsap County Superior Court and bail was set at $250,000.

Rehmus hit Emerald Heights Elementary School teacher Amy Marie Higgins, 50, who died at the scene. She was running with a friend, who told the investigator the two were carrying lights, wearing reflective clothing and were “lit up like a Christmas tree,” according to documents.

Higgins' friend told investigators that they paused and looked for traffic before continuing through the marked crosswalk at the intersection at NW Greaves Way and Old Frontier Road NW at about 5:40 a.m. Just before Higgins was struck, the other woman was running behind her by a little less than an arm's length.

"It was at that time she saw headlights in the straight through lane and realized there was a car traveling directly toward Higgins," the investigator wrote. "She said she did not see the involved vehicle until was 'right on us.' She screamed to Higgins, but it was too late and the car struck Higgins."

An investigator calculated Rehmus’ minimum speed at 48 mph. Rehmus told investigators he applied the brakes when he saw Higgins – investigators found skid marks on the roadway – and investigators estimated Rehmus was traveling at about 43 mph at impact. In his statement to investigators, Rehmus estimated he was traveling between 45 and 50 mph.

“Had Rehmus been driving at the speed limit and perceived/reacted at the same spot, the impact speed would have only been 17 mph,” the investigator wrote.

The investigator noted that although the speed limit is 35 mph on the road, it is based on “ideal conditions.”

“Night time is not ideal driving conditions,” the investigator wrote.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Kelly Montgomery said it wasn’t one allegation that led to the charge of vehicular homicide, but a totality of the factors laid out by the Kitsap County Sheriff’s traffic investigator.

Testing of a voluntary blood sample showed Rehmus had 10 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood. The state limit is five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood, as set in state law by voters who approved I-502 in 2012.

“From what the toxicology laboratory reports indicate, he was above the per se limit,” Montgomery said.

Higgins worked in the Central Kitsap School District for 27 years, including teaching at Clear Creek and Woodlands elementary schools. She was an avid endurance athlete, completing marathons and 200-mile bicycle rides.

© 2017 KING-TV


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