September 26, 2018

Wrong-way driver had opioids, THC in system

Steven Bourgoin

Williston driver awaits trial in crash that killed five teens

By Mike Donoghue

For VTDigger

The court-ordered toxicology report of a wrong-way driver charged with killing five central Vermont teenagers in a fiery crash a year ago shows high levels of THC — the active ingredient in marijuana — in his blood system, along with fentanyl, norfentanyl and midazolam.

Steven D. Bourgoin, 37, of Williston had 10 nanograms of active THC level about eight hours after he crashed into the five teens as they headed home about 11:50 p.m. Oct. 8, 2016, according to the drug report made public Monday.

Any level of THC in a driver in Vermont is against the law. In Colorado, which allows for recreational marijuana, a driver is presumed under the influence with 5 nanograms of THC.

The levels of fentanyl, an opioid pain medication, and midazolam, a sedative, “could be therapeutic levels,” according to an interpretation by the Vermont Department of Public Safety.

The long-sought drug report for Bourgoin became public Monday afternoon when Heidi Storm, public records administrator for the Vermont State Police, granted the latest request seeking details of the impairment.

The request to release the test results was renewed in the Bourgoin case after Vermont State Police reported this month that a driver who killed four carnival workers in August in Addison County had more than 50 nanograms of THC in his system. That made him more than 10 times the legal limit if he had been driving in Colorado.

The Bourgoin report says he was impaired.

Fentanyl is a morphine substitute. The report said, “It is reported to be 80 to 200 times as potent as morphine and has a rapid onset of action as well as addictive properties.”

Bourgoin had 25 nanograms of midazolam, the report said. In 56 drivers arrested for driving while under the influence, midazolam concentrations ranged from 5 to 1,100 nanograms.

Bourgoin has pleaded not guilty to a variety of charges, including five counts of second-degree murder in the death of the teens. He remains in prison awaiting trial, which could be in late April at the earliest, officials said.

Minutes after Bourgoin’s arraignment in October 2016, then-Chittenden County State’s Attorney TJ Donovan pledged during a news conference he would release the toxicology report as soon as he received it. Donovan, who was running for Vermont attorney general, reversed direction two weeks before the election and refused to make public the report.

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