Mistrial in Case of Driver Accused of Causing Deadly Crash While High on Extremely Potent Marijuana

The lack of training and education of dispensary employees was part of the defense for a woman accused of murder in San Diego.

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NBC 7

A mistrial has been declared in the trial for a San Diego accused of driving high on marijuana and causing a crash that crumbled a vintage Porsche and killed a passenger two years ago

Her attorney told jurors Wednesday she was "catastrophically impaired" after smoking a strain of unrealized potency and argued she was not guilty of murder because she was given little or no warning of its strength.

Hyun Choi, 33, faces three felony charges including murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and DUI under the influence of drugs causing injury.

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She was arrested on March 27, 2016, following a collision on Pomerado Road between Caminito Alto and Sycamore Test Road.

Amanda Walzer, 43, was riding in a 1956 Porsche that had only lap seat belts and no airbags.

When Choi's vehicle traveled over the raised median, it collided with the Porsche, killing Walzer and injuring the Porsche driver.

When her trial began Wednesday, attorney Stephen G. Cline told jurors that his client cannot be convicted of murder because his client had been sold Jupiter OG after a brief visit to a licensed medical marijuana dispensary.

Choi "made a naive and negligent mistake," he said, adding the lack of training of marijuana dispensary staff compounded the issue. 

Choi, who had a medicinal marijuana card for social anxiety disorder, purchased the marijuana based on the packaging after "roughly 9 minutes" of consultation with dispensary employees, Cline said. 

He said she pulled over on her way home, took a couple of puffs and started driving. 

The collision took place approximately six miles from the dispensary.

Cline said his client lost her hearing as well as control over her arms and legs before the crash.

“She had no idea what she left that store with in regards to strength,” the attorney told jurors.

Officers found two different types of marijuana in Choi's vehicle as well as a marijuana pipe that was still warm to the touch, the prosecutor said.

An officer testified in court Thursday that Choi tried to hide a pipe after the crash. Her attorneys challenged the statement and a judge ordered the prosecution to produce a report of the officer's observation.

When they could not find the report, the judge determined the officer's testimony tainted the jury and a mistrial was declared.

The judge and attorneys are scheduled to meet next week to determine a new trial date.

NBC 7 has reached out to the dispensary involved to get more information regarding Choi's visit.

Choi faces a maximum of 22 years to life if convicted of all three charges. 

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