While many of us are aware that driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can result in criminal charges and prison time, the more important consideration is how these actions can affect the lives of others. A Pennsylvania man suspected of smoking a “synthetic” drug before getting into a fatal car accident is about to face the consequences of his actions, but the families of the victims in the crash are already feeling the effects.

The accused 27-year-old man was driving a Lincoln Continental through Pottstown with four passengers: his brother, a 28-year-old man and a teenage boy and girl. A police criminal complaint and affidavit say the driver and some of his passengers were smoking K2, a brand of synthetic cannabis, when the driver lost control and crashed into a utility pole. The car then spun into a yard and hit an oil tank.

According to prosecutors, the driver and his brother pulled the other three passengers out of the car before fleeing the scene of the crash. The teenage girl was pronounced dead at the scene. The man was pronounced dead at a hospital, and the 16-year-old boy, who suffered head trauma and internal injuries, remains in critical condition.

The driver was later arrested by police who spotted him the next day on a bicycle. As he was led into a courtroom for his arraignment this week, he told reporters with tears in his eyes that “it was an accident.” According to prosecutors, the man was driving on a suspended license stemming from an April DUI-related offense. He also served two days in jail after pleading guilty to a DUI earlier this year. Other crimes on his record include a guilty plea in 2008 to aggravated assault and drug possession. He was apparently on probation for this offense when the accident occurred. He now faces multiple counts of accident involving death and personal injury while not properly licensed.

Considering the charges he faces, it’s not surprising he fled the scene of the accident. But as a result of his actions behind the wheel, two young people are dead and a third is critically injured. It’s now up to their loved ones, who are already suffering from the driver’s actions, to seek some form of compensation, regardless of whether he’s convicted and sent to prison.

Source: NBC 10 Philadelphia, “Driver in Deadly Crash Was Smoking Synthetic Pot: Cops,” Kelly Bayliss, Dan Stamm and David Chang, May 22, 2012