BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — A commercial bus driver who pulled over on a Connecticut highway and passed out with 38 passengers aboard after eating THC-infused gummies has been granted a probation program that could result in criminal charges being dismissed.
A state judge in Bridgeport approved accelerated rehabilitation Thursday for Jinhuan Chen, 59, who said he didn’t know the gummies contained the active ingredient in marijuana, Hearst Connecticut Media reported. If he successfully completes a two-year probation period, 38 counts of reckless endangerment will be erased.
“Mr. Chen considers himself fortunate that no one was harmed,” said his lawyer, Daniel Esposito.
Chen, through a Mandarin interpreter, told Judge Elizabeth Reid that he didn’t know the gummies contained THC because he does not speak or read English.
“This potentially could have had devastating consequences but he immediately pulled over and called 911,” Reid said.
Chen was driving a Go Go Sun Tour bus in March 2022 when it started swerving on Interstate 95 in Stratford and terrified the Mohegan Sun casino patrons aboard, police said. Chen managed to pull the bus over and call 911 before passing out, authorities said.
State police said troopers found Chen unconscious and slumped in the driver’s seat, with an open bag of “Smokies Edibles Cannabis Infused Fruit Chews” next to him. Chen was brought to a hospital, where testing showed a high level of THC, police said.
The manager of Boston-based Go Go Sun Tour, Victor Chen, has said Jinhuan Chen had an exemplary, 10-year driving record and didn’t drink alcohol or smoke, but had a sweet tooth.
Prosecutors said there was no evidence Jinhuan Chen knowingly ingested THC.