Police: Driver who struck, seriously injured another motorist was on pot

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GREAT BARRINGTON — A Great Barrington teen has been charged with operating under the influence and is suspected of using marijuana after police say he struck and seriously injured a woman who was inspecting her damaged car on Route 7 on Wednesday night.

Khali Zabian, 19, of Lee, remains in critical condition after being transported to Berkshire Medical Center. 

In a statement about the accident Thursday, town Police Chief William Walsh did not release the name of the other driver, 17, because of his age.

Zabian had called 911 just before 10 p.m. to report that she had struck guardrails while heading north near Fountain Pond, with is south of Monument Mountain, Walsh said. While her car was disabled in the northbound lane, with "extensive damage," Zabian and another motorist who stopped to help tried to run to safety when another northbound vehicle "suddenly came upon them," according to Walsh.

Zabian was struck and "thrown some distance." The other driver's car sustained extensive damage, Walsh said, adding that "police have probable cause to believe he was impaired after having used marijuana."

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The teen, who had a teen passenger in his vehicle at the time of the accident, is charged with operating under the influence causing serious bodily injury. 

Walsh told The Eagle that after a field sobriety test, police concluded that only marijuana was a factor, not alcohol. He said that unlike for alcohol, there are no chemical tests with immediate results for marijuana use.

Zabian is a 2018 graduate of Lee High School, where she was captain of the lacrosse team. She and her family belong to Faith 2 Faith Ministries, and according to a email about the accident sent by a ministry official to its members, Zabian is studying to be an astro physiotherapist.

The email also said she had just left work at around 9:30 p.m. when the accident happened. The accident is under investigation by Great Barrington police, as well as a number of other local police departments and agencies, including state police and detectives from the Berkshire District Attorney's Office.

Heather Bellow can be reached at hbellow@berkshireeagle.com or on Twitter @BE_hbellow and 413-329-6871.


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