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Pot suspected in fatal crash

A driver alleged to be under the influence of marijuana Friday night ran a stop sign at high speed and struck another car, killing that driver, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Noah Whitney, 22, of Fresno was southbound on Road 36 about 9:30 pm in a 2005 Honda CRV when he failed to stop at the intersection with Avenue 15 and struck an eastbound 2005 Infinity in the driver’s door, killing the driver and injuring a female passenger in Whitney’s car. Whitney sustained major injuries and was taken to Community Regional Medical Center.

The Madera County Coroner’s office identified Malcolm Paul Harvey, 26, of Fresno, as the fatality. Witnesses said Harvey had stopped at the intersection and was proceeding forward when he was struck by Whitney. The force of the crash spun both vehicles around. Harvey was pinned in his vehicle, and died of blunt force trauma at the scene as emergency medical technicians and a crowd of bystanders attempted to help him.

The woman passenger with Whitney, from Madera, sustained what police said were moderate injuries.

CHP Sgt. Lincoln McKenna said officers noted a strong odor of marijuana and other indicators at the crash scene that led them to suspect marijuana use in Whitney’s vehicle.

“These crashes are preventable,” McKenna said. “Driving under the influence of marijuana is just as deadly as alcohol.”

Whitney remains hospitalized and now faces charges of vehicular homicide, DUI with great bodily harm, among other charges.

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