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CHP Arrest Driver for Alleged DUI After Three-Car Hwy. 101 Crash

Two drivers and a four-year-old boy escape unharmed after collision just north of the East Blithedale Ave./Tiburon Blvd. exit.

A 22-year-old man, believed to be homeless, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana after he was involved in an auto accident Friday afternoon, according to the California Highway Patrol. 

Around 1:15 p.m., Chase Gilreath, formerly of Humboldt County, was driving his 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee at about 45-50 miles per hour northbound on Highway 101, just north of the SR-131 (Tiburon Blvd.) overcrossing, according to CHP Officer Eric Hohmeister.

Traffic ahead of Gilreath began to slow, but due to his suspected intoxication, Gilreath failed to react to slowing traffic and the front of his Jeep struck the rear of a stopped 1992 Nissan Maxima at approximately 45 miles per hour.

The driver of the Nissan, 19-year-old Elizabeth Mazariegos-Ramirez of Richmond, was stopped in traffic and observed the Jeep approaching the rear of her vehicle at high speed prior to the collision.

The force of the first collision jettisoned the Nissan into the rear of a 2005 Honda CRV that was stopped in traffic just north of the Nissan. Following the collision, the Jeep and the Nissan stopped in the northbound lanes and the Honda moved to the right shoulder. Traffic was moved to the shoulder and lanes were cleared by 1:21 p.m., reported the California Highway Patrol.

CHP officers determined through a DUI investigation that Gilreath was driving under the influence of marijuana and placed him under arrest. Marin County Fire Paramedics arrived on scene to evaluate a four-year-old boy who had been riding in a child safety seat in the right rear side of the Nissan when the collision occurred.  The boy was determined to be uninjured. The driver of the Honda, 59-year-old Jane Orlandi of Mill Valley, was also uninjured in the collision.

Following the arrest, officers located more than an ounce of marijuana in the Jeep, Hohmeister said.

Gilreath was booked into the Marin County Jail for misdemeanor DUI and possession of more than an ounce of marijuana

Statewide, one in seven weekend nighttime drivers was found to be under the influence of drugs, according to a recent survey released by the California Office of Traffic Safety.

Of the 1,300 drivers stopped at checkpoints statewide who voluntarily submitted to a breath or saliva sample, 7.4 percent tested positive for marijuana and 14 percent for some type of drug, while 7.3 percent tested positive for alcohol, according to the survey. Of those positive hits for alcohol, 23 percent also tested positive for at least one drug.

More than a fourth of the drivers who tested positive for marijuana also tested positive for at least one other drug, according to the study. The results were culled from information taken at checkpoints set up in nine different cities during August and September of this year.

Steven Norwin December 08, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Another good reason not to make pot legal. All we need are Legally stoned people on our rodes!
Rebecca Chapman December 08, 2012 at 06:34 PM
so scary! this piece is compelling for many reasons, & i hope it's o.k. for me to weigh in early. a homeless driver, drugs, a dangerous stretch of road, a small child, one of our loveliest elders in the local community, young 'kids' from elsewhere, the mention of alcohol, it goes on & on. distracted, exhausted, intoxicated driving is dangerous for all, obviously. what's it going to take for us to keep each other safe?
Jane Marymount December 11, 2012 at 09:31 PM
Just like abstinence based sex education increases teen pregnancy, not teaching harm reduction with drugs and alcohol results in accidents. Also this kid is 22, there are millions of pot smokers who don't get really stoned and drive, just like people can have a glass of wine and drive fine. Stop the paranoid and reactionary comments and please educate yourselves. You live in an educated community, act like it. This was a freak accident caused by an immature kid.

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