Driving while under the influence of either drugs or alcohol is a crime punishable by law in California. Alcohol-related DUI reports are seemingly more commonplace. However, the penalties drivers who drive under the influence of drugs (DUID) face are the same as a regular DUI. It is important that people understand a DUID arrest is possible. Under California law, there is no legal limit for the amount of drugs you can have in your system—any amount that is reflective in a blood test is grounds for a DUID charge.
Unfortunately, 33-year-old Hal Kimberly Sutherland learned this the hard way last Wednesday when he was arrested after fleeing the scene of a crash. His car had slammed head-on into another vehicle while he had allegedly been under the influence of a combination of illegal drugs.
Officers dispatched to the scene of the hit-and-run at approximately 3:30 p.m. Upon investigation, authorities learned that a black Ford F-150 driven by Sutherland was traveling southbound on Hilltop Drive in Redding before he lost control of his vehicle. Attempting to make a left turn, Sutherland wrongfully turned into the path of a white van traveling northbound.
Due to his intoxication, Sutherland could not regain control of his vehicle and hit the van head-on. Sutherland then fled from the accident on foot while the van driver and passenger waited helplessly for medical support.
Luckily, the victims sustained minor injuries and were transported to the hospital by first responders for treatment.
Police Make the DUID Arrest
With assistance from the CHP Northern Division Air Operations, authorities managed to locate Sutherland (who was found disguised in different clothing) several blocks away from the crash. He admitted to driving the abandoned vehicle involved in the hit-and-run. Upon further assessment, officers determined that Sutherland was under the influence of various illegal drugs.
Sutherland has since been arrested and charged for driving under the influence causing injury, fleeing the scene of a collision, and violating the terms of his post-release community supervision.