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Alleged drugged driver in court

Almost a year after his fiance and young son died in a rollover accident, the man driving the truck appears in court...accused in their deaths.

DANVILLE (KATV) -

Ask any prosecutor in Arkansas: drug abuse is a serious problem in our state.

Tonight we take a look at one case in which suspected drug use put one man in court and two others in a cemetery.

For the first time this year, a national study found that more fatality accidents were linked to drugged driving than drunk driving.

The report studied fatality crashes from 2015...so it did not include the deaths of 19 year-old Heather

Walker or 20 month-old Mitch Holt.

They were killed in 2016 when the truck driven by then 20 year-old James Holt crashed.

An arrest affidavit states that Holt "...had cannabinoids in his blood during the time of the collision."

Last month...nearly a year after the wreck...Holt was arrested and charged with negligent homicide and endangering the welfare of a minor.

"In June you wondered if he would ever get charged at all. Now that he has been charged what do you hope the outcome is?"

"I hope he goes to the pen for a little while,” says Carol Walker, mother of Heather and grandmother of Mitch.

The legalization of marijuana in Arkansas means that usage will soon increase.

We asked prosecutor Tom Tatum if he thinks more accidents like the one that killed Heather Walker and Mitch Holt could result.

"You know...I feel that is already very prevalent,” answers Tatum. “I don't know that...you know possibly you will see more. But you know I'm sure the stats will bear that out eventually. But that is a real problem right now. Drug driving and proving drug driving are difficult things."

And Tatum says that is the main reason it took so long to file charges in this case. There is no legal standard for drugged driving like there is for drunk driving. There is no breathalyzer or .08...which makes filing charges and prosecuting more challenging when someone uses drugs and then drives.

Bond has been set at $75,000.00 for Holt.

A jury trial for holt has been set for October 19th.

Air date: August 3rd, 2017

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