WORCESTER (CBS) -- The driver charged in the crash that killed Massachusetts State Trooper Thomas Clardy earlier this year appeared in Worcester Superior Court Monday morning to ask prosecutors to drop two of the charges against him.
David Njuguna, 30, of Webster, is facing six counts--including two counts of manslaughter, one by motor vehicle--and one count of operating under the influence of marijuana in the March 16 crash that killed Clardy, who was 44.
But Njuguna is seeking to have the marijuana and manslaughter by motor vehicle charges dropped.
Clardy had made a traffic stop along the Massachusetts Turnpike in Charlton when Njuguna allegedly swerved his speeding vehicle into the back of Clardy's cruiser. The impact pushed Clardy's cruiser down an embankment and he could not be saved.
Despite the fact that a burned marijuana joint was found in his car and that Njuguna had picked up marijuana at a dispensary earlier in the day, his attorney Jaclyn Greenhall said that there is no evidence he was under the influence.
"There is nothing in the medical records, the toxicology report, or the police investigation indicating that Mr. Njuguna has consumed marijuana," she said in court Monday.
She added that her client was overcharged, as the manslaughter by motor vehicle charge requires proof of Njuguna having been high at the time.
"Manslaughter and the manslaughter by motor vehicle are basically the same counts, your honor, except that the manslaughter by motor vehicle requires proof of elements of operating under the influence, which the manslaughter doesn't," Greenhall said.
Njuguna allegedly was in possession of four medical marijuana cigarettes, and had a card to legally carry medical marijuana. Prosecutors said a burnt marijuana cigarette was found in his car and he had a level of THC in his blood, but Njuguna has denied that he was under the influence of the drug.
Back in October, Clardy's widow, Reisa Clardy, was featured in a video urging Massachusetts residents to vote against a ballot initiative that would legalize marijuana.
"Obviously I was very upset, trying to understand how an adult, a grown man could get behind the wheel after smoking marijuana and think it's okay," she said in the video, which was released by the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts.
That initiative passed, and marijuana will be legalized for recreational use on Thursday.
Massachusetts State Police supporters, as well as Clardy's family, were in court for the hearing. They had no comment.
The judge has taken Njuguna's request under advisement.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Lana Jones reports
for more features.