Woman charged with driving high and injuring passenger accepts plea deal

LISBON Cynthia M. King, the woman accused of injuring a passenger in her vehicle while driving under the influence of marijuana in June of 2012, pleaded guilty to reduced charges in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court on Friday.

King, 30, of Waynesburg, Pa., was initially charged with aggravated vehicular assault and OVI, after injuring Agnes Yatsko on June 29, 2012 while driving on state Route 172 in West Township. The indictment alleged King went left of center, striking another vehicle head on. Yatsko, the sister of King’s boyfriend, was a passenger in her vehicle.

In a plea agreement, Assistant County Prosecutor Tammie Riley Jones offered King a chance to plead guilty to the misdemeanor OVI and two misdemeanor charges not in the original indictment – negligent assault and possession of drug paraphernalia. In return, Jones said she will request the dismissal of the felony charge of aggravated vehicular assault at the time of sentencing.

Jones noted she spoke with Yatsko, who wanted the issue treated as an accident, and it was also learned the marijuana metabalite found in King’s system when her blood was tested after the accident was found to be inactive.

Defense attorney Doug King explained to Judge C. Ashley Pike the current language for an OVI charge does not make a distinction whether the marijuana in someone’s system is active or inactive, just that it is there. He added marijuana can stay in someone’s system for a long time after they are affected by it.

The negligent assault charge states Cynthia King was responsible of negligently using a deadly weapon to cause physical harm to someone. The drug paraphernalia charge deals with a marijuana grinder and scale King had around the time of the accident, Jones said.

Sentencing was set for Sept. 26, at which time Jones said she will ask for 240 in jail and a two-year license suspension.