A toxicology report of the woman accused of manslaughter in the December death of a Bend cyclist shows she had multiple prescription drugs in her system when she was behind the wheel.
Shantel Witt tested positive for alprazolam (Xanax), the muscle relaxer carisprodol and the tranquilizer meprobamate, according to new filings in a civil suit filed by the estate of Marika Stone, who died while riding on Dodds Road east of Bend. The filings are intended to support a case for punitive damages, and they purport to show how intoxicated Witt was when she drove head-first into Stone.
The amended complaint, filed Tuesday, also provides additional information about the collision, as well as Witt’s alleged response, which was described as “completely inappropriate.”
The suit, seeking $32 million in damages, asserts Witt demonstrated “reckless and outrageous indifference to a highly unreasonable risk of harm and that she acted with a conscious indifference” to Stone and her fellow riders.
Witt, 42, was served April 13. She’s retained civil attorney Bruno Jagelski, but has yet to formally respond to the suit.
Jagelski declined to comment Wednesday.
Stone’s estate says Witt was high on a trio of prescription drugs that can produce a feeling similar to heroin. Users call it the “Holy Trinity.”
The lawsuit is supported by evidence in the pending criminal case being pursued by the Deschutes County district attorney. As victims, Stone’s relatives are allowed access to some information in the state’s case.
The Stone estate’s civil attorney, Nathan Steele, was unavailable for comment Wednesday.
Witt’s manslaughter case is set for early next year. She’s been on house arrest since January.
The amended complaint adds more details to the narrative of the fatal collision.
At around 3:20 p.m. Dec. 30, Witt was heading west in a 2002 GMC Sierra on Dodds Road on her way home from shopping in Bend. The pickup was traveling more than 50 mph and had completely crossed the centerline when it struck the third of a line of three cyclists, killing Stone instantly, the complaint states.
Witt drove on for a stretch, stopped and drove back to the scene in reverse.
The collision and aftermath were witnessed by several people near the intersection at Obernolte Road and outside the home of Dan Miller, whose comments to investigators were included in the amended complaint.
Miller, a former volunteer paramedic, told police he heard the impact and ran to assist. Stone was “obviously deceased,” he said. Miller’s wife retrieved a blanket to cover Stone’s body while he checked on Witt.
Miller told her she’d just killed a cyclist and she was angered by this, according to the amended complaint.
“Miller was very emotional and was having a hard time speaking about it,” wrote Deschutes County sheriff’s deputy Kent Vander Kamp, whose comments were also part of the amended complaint. “He told me he didn’t want to repeat some of the things she said but expressed that she was completely inappropriate for the circumstance.”
Miller remained near Stone’s body for five hours until the medical examiner released her to Baird’s Funeral Home.
Other interviewees reported Witt berated the surviving cyclists, with slurred speech, for being in the “middle of the road.”
The police narrative contains multiple accounts from witnesses who observed signs of impairment in Witt. She was “cautious, falling, staggering, stumbling, wobbly (and she) walked into the driver’s side of her own truck after losing her balance,” Vander Kamp wrote.
One of Stone’s fellow riders, Carrie Carney, said Witt tried to hand someone a “very small” first-aid kit to assist Stone.
“Most oddly, she stopped walking and talking to watch a large raven passing overhead,” Vander Kamp wrote.
After refusing a field sobriety test, Witt reportedly failed three, the complaint states. Vander Kamp also observed six of six possible clues during an eye test for drugs.
Blood samples were drawn later that night. They were tested in January at the Washington State Patrol toxicology lab.
Despite the discovery of three empty Coors beer cans in Witt’s vehicle, the subsequent tests showed she had no alcohol in her system.
Witt has a prior arrest for DUII, but she avoided conviction by completing diversion treatment involving a women’s Alcoholic’s Anonymous program and attending a Victim’s Impact Panel.
During an on-scene interview after the collision, Witt allegedly told Vander Kamp that listening to speaker Karie Odell describe losing her entire family to a drunken driver in 1993 was “the most powerful lesson she learn(ed) during the four-week diversion program.”
Stone, 38, was a mother of two with her own dental practice in Bend, Mill Point Dental Center. She was also a Category 4 cyclist under USA Cycling rules with several years’ road cycling experience.
Stone’s death rocked the local cycling community. Dozens packed the courtroom, helmets in hand, for Witt’s first court appearance.
— Reporter: 541-383-0325, firstname.lastname@example.org