ST. ALBANS CITY — Ryan Wooster pleaded no contest to a charge of grossly negligent vehicle operation resulting in a fatality, and guilty to a charge of violating his court-ordered release conditions, in court here Wednesday afternoon.
Wooster was 20 years old when the crash happened, Sept. 21, 2016. Wooster’s Honda Civic left the shoulder of Bronson Road, rolled over and landed on the roadside, killing Wooster’s passenger, Cassandra Viens, also 20.
The Vermont State Police crash reconstruction team investigated the crash and concluded excessive speed was to blame. A vehicle traveling 60 mph would need 150-218 feet to slide to a stop, troopers said, according to St. Albans police officer Keith Cote’s affidavit. Wooster’s vehicle traveled over 500 feet from initial tires scuffs to its final resting place.
Cote wrote police also found evidence that drugs and alcohol factored in the crash: specifically, a can of Budweiser, a bottle of Long Trail Ale and a Burger King cup smelling of fresh alcohol in Wooster’s car, and a glass marijuana-smoking device in his shorts. But when the Vermont Forensic Laboratory analyzed a blood sample taken from Wooster shortly after the crash, Wooster’s blood alcohol content was .061, below the legal limit of .08, though Wooster was also younger than the legal drinking age. His concentration of Delta-9 THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, was approximately 3.6 nanograms (ng) per milliliter (mL), plus or minus 0.8 ng/mL. Vermont does not currently have a legal driving limit for Delta-9 THC, but in Colorado, that limit is 5 ng/mL.
Read the full story in Thursday’s Messenger. Click here to subscribe.