According to the autopsy report filed by Larimer County Coroner James A. Wilkerson IV, M.D. and forensic pathologist, the driver of the vehicle that initiated a two-car collision on the Colorado side of U.S. 287 — William Malone- — had levels of THC in his system at the time of the collision that took his life and that of two others Feb. 27.
Three THC elements were detected:
3.4 ng/mL of 11-Hydroxy Delta-9
140 ng/ML of Delta-9 Carboxy
10 ng/mL of Delta-9
Carboxy is the most widely-tested THC.
According to a 2020 research report mentioned on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website, a level of 5 ng/mL in a person is considered high. However, the report further states the even levels lower than that can still impair a person’s ability to operate a vehicle or machinery. (ng/mL is nanograms per milliliter. A liter is a liquid measure.)
The finding of THC came from the blood sample as the urinary bladder was lacerated, thus contained no urine, which is also drawn and measured to detect alcohol or other drugs.
Regardless whatever levels were detected, it is of little, if any, compensation to Trish Potter. Her daughter, Sienna, was one of the three people killed in the collision.
“Autopsy results revealed William Malone was impaired at the time of the accident, with a level of 10 ng/mL THC in his blood, twice the level considered impaired,” Trish Potter stated in an email.
Sienna Potter, 18, was a first-year student at UW studying early childhood education. Prior to attending UW, she attended outside London, England. She had family in Laramie.
“Students and the community need to know this wasn’t just an ‘accident,’” she said. “William Malone’s poor choice to drive while under the influence resulted in his killing and injuring innocent students, along with killing himself.”
She further stated the hope that publicizing the result of the autopsy raises awareness that will help others make better choices.
ABOUT THE ACCIDENT
According to Colorado State Patrol Officer Josh Lewis, Malone, a student at the University of Wyoming who had turned 21 just weeks before, on Feb. 2, was driving a 2005 Subaru Forester when the incident occurred. He was the sole occupant.
Malone was driving southbound on U.S. 287 when his vehicle began spinning and crossed into the northbound lane, striking the side of a 2013 Hyundai sedan. As a result of the collision (witnessed by passengers in a vehicle that was behind the Hyundai), two of the four people in that vehicle died and later declared dead at the scene.
In addition to Potter, the other person who perished also was a UW student:
Rebecca Marley, 19, a first-year student in marketing. Like Potter, she attended high school outside the U.S., in Dubai. She had family living in The Woodlands, Texas.
Two others in the Hyundai, survived the crash, the first being Elizabeth Howard, 18, from Omaha, Nebraska. Her injuries were minor.
The second person was Jackson Clough, 21, whose residence was listed as only being from California. He was airlifted to The Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland, Colorado, and eventually was released after several weeks.
According to Lewis, at the time of the crash, drugs and alcohol were not suspected as having been factors and that the CSP was looking into whether speed or icy conditions may have been a factor.