A Vancouver man appeared in Clark County Superior Court Tuesday on suspicion of negligently killing his friend, Daniel D. Alexander, in a single-car crash late Sunday on eastbound state Highway 14.
Kenneth L. Jones, 29, allegedly was under the influence of the drug Clonazepam when he drove his 1995 Honda Accord off the highway around 8:40 p.m. between Mileposts 7 and 8, about a mile west of the 164th Avenue exit. The vehicle rolled and landed upside down, killing Alexander, 46, who was a passenger in the vehicle, and pinning Jones in the driver’s seat, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in court.
Jones faces charges of vehicular homicide and driving under the influence at his Oct. 11 arraignment. Judge Barbara Johnson held him on $50,000 bail.
Clonazepam is a habit-forming drug often used, in combination with other medications, to control certain types of seizures, as well as panic attacks, according to the National Institutes of Health.
It’s unclear why Jones was using the drug.
Jones was convicted in Clark County in 2007 of unlawfully manufacturing and delivering a controlled substance, according to court records.
Washington State Patrol troopers said when they found Jones late Sunday inside the totaled Honda, he showed symptoms of impairment: slurred speech, a flushed face and bloodshot, watery eyes, according to the affidavit. Jones admitted to taking Clonazepam, the affidavit says.
A blood test was conducted on Jones at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center to confirm the admission, the affidavit says. Jones also was treated for bruised ribs and chest and back pain, according to court records.
Jones appeared Tuesday in court wearing orange jail clothes and did not appear to have difficulty moving around. Vancouver defense attorney Jack Green, who said he was making a courtesy appearance, stood by his side. Jones is expected to hire an attorney to defend him. Some of Jones’ family members, including his mother, were in the courtroom, but they declined to comment on the case to journalists as they left the courthouse.