Driver Pounds Down Pot Gummies, Falls Asleep on the Freeway — to the Horror of His 30+ Passengers

(AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

When operating a motor vehicle, it’s best to retain consciousness. Such is a principle recently illustrated by an incident in Connecticut.

On March 13th, Jinhuan Chen was driving along Interstate 95 in Stratford.


Suddenly, he was overcome by an urge: The Boston resident had to sleep right then, right there.

So he pulled right over and entered an emergency-lane slumber.

Around 3:00 p.m., a state trooper was dispatched to Jinhuan’s nestling near Exit 30.

From the Connecticut Post:

State police said the driver, later identified as Chen, was slumped in the driver’s seat unconscious.

Being caught asleep at the wheel is never optimal. But some might assert things were worsened by the presence of 38 passengers: Jinhuan was operating a bus headed home from the Mohegan Sun casino.

One of [them] told the trooper he saw Chen eating something from a bag next to his seat before he passed out.

He’d indulged, indeed: Since they’d left the casino, Jinjuan had been grinding down on gummies. The man might’ve benefitted from reading the label:

Police said they found an open bag of “[Smokiez] Edibles Cannabis Infused Fruit Chews” next to the driver.

Via rideshare, the passengers completed their journey; Jinhuan journeyed to Bridgeport Hospital.

[P]olice said he was found to have a high level of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, in his blood stream.

Compliments of an arrest warrant, officials escorted him from his home on Monday. In court, he pleaded ignorance:

“I didn’t know it was marijuana,” Jinhuan Chen said through a Chinese interpreter as he stood before Superior Court Judge Ndidi Moses Tuesday afternoon. “I didn’t know.”


Law enforcement was unimpressed:

[S]tate police said that was no comfort to his…terrified passengers…

Lenience didn’t look to be in the cards…

[S]enior Assistant State’s Attorney Nicholas Bove told the judge that Chen was just lucky no one was injured on the bus.

He urged the judge to set a high bond for Chen, who is charged with 38 counts of first-degree reckless endangerment.

The judge ordered Jinhuan to be held on $25,000 bond.

His employer, Victor Chen — manager of Go Go Sun Tour — believes Jinhuan getting juiced was an absolute accident. “The driver didn’t know there was marijuana in the candy,” he said.

[Victor] told Hearst Connecticut Media that Jinhuan Chen had been driving for the Boston-based company for 10 years and has an exemplary record.

Jinhuan just enjoys junk food:

“He doesn’t drink, he doesn’t smoke, but he has a sweet tooth and likes candy. He picked up a bag of candy at a local market here and didn’t know it had marijuana in it.”

A likely story, or sign of the times? Or both?

Victor may have a point. Thanks to contemporary cultural and legislative laxity, amid any quest for something to snack on, “high quality” might mean something far different than it used to.

“This would never have happened a couple of years ago but now there’s marijuana everywhere here.”


Thank goodness no one was hurt, which can’t be said for a road-related story in September. It, too, appeared to enforce the cardinal rule: Don’t mix driving and drugs…



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