Weather Related Delays and Closings

BICYCLIST INJURED: Driver Allegedly High On Pot

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Des Moines police believe a teen was driving under the influence of marijuana when the truck he was driving hit a bicyclist Wednesday.

Eighteen-year-old Austin Clark is now charged with OWI and serious injury by vehicle for the crash that injured 36-year-old Christopher Koranda.

Witnesses told police Clark was driving northbound on 63rd Street at Tyler Avenue around 9:00 p.m. Wednesday when Clark’s truck hit Koranda. Koranda was thrown from his bike and Clark’s truck dragged the bike for a little ways down the road.

When an officer interviewed Clark he noticed the teen appeared to be under the influence of something because of his slow speech and dilated pupils. The officer also noticed Clark’s truck smelled of marijuana. During a search he found two bags of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Police say Clark admitted the drugs were his and he had smoked marijuana earlier in the day.

"Typically any type of ingestion of narcotics will affect your reaction time one way or another. Marijuana is something that typically would relax or delay that reaction," Sgt. Jason Halifax with the Des Moines Police Department said.

Clark also faces charges of possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. He is being held in the Polk County Jail.

Clark’s attorney, Guy Cook said his client will plead not guilty to OWI, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, and a charge of serious injury by motor vehicle.

"He's very distraught, as any young man would be. Whether it's his fault or not he's very distraught about what happened," Cook said.

Police say Koranda suffered a broken pelvis and a head injury. He is listed in stable condition.



  • BrutallyHonest

    Well, first of all Pot does not cause your pupils to dialate nor have i ever noticed anyone high on pot to slur their words. I HAVE on the other hand seen people strung out on meth and they do have dialated pupils and do slur their words because they have been up for so many days. This is just more propoganda against pot.

    • Mike Cee

      I guess you’ve never heard of smoking dope and having rebound dilation, lethargy and slurred speech (all present when dope is smoked).

      But then, since you’re a dope smoker I wouldn’t expect you to be able to intelligently discuss the issue, so you’re off the intelligence hook on this one.

      • Troy Hendrickson

        People who try to argue driving while under the influence of cannabis is not dangerous are harming efforts to make neccessary, sensible changes in our nations cannabis laws.

        By the same token, the lax attitude of our leaders towards an even more dangerous problem in alcohol is equally ridiculous.

    • Rich

      Lol, so are you trying to say that the only reason why drug users have dilated eyes and slur their words are because they stay up so late…. this guy, this guy right here… he’s high right now, lol

  • William Denison

    The man on the bike may not of gotten hit if he had lights on his bike…..just sayin.

    • just saying

      He actually did have lights on the bike……i saw the accident. It was terrible and the driver seemed to be intoxicated. He was stumbling around when he got out of the truck. But im nobody to judge. He may have been in shock too. I really dont think anyone on this comment feed knows either. But i do know for a fact that thete were flashing lighte on the wheels and on the back of the bike.

  • BrutallyHonest

    I also do not recal seeing a sidewalk nor a bike lane that far down on 63rd street and it was probably getting dark out at that time of night. Why was that person on the bike there anyway. They should not be allowed to ride their bikes on a highway or roadway where there is no bike lane and no sidewalk. They have no business being on the roadway with cars.

    • Lance Armstrong

      You are so right. I love riding my bike but am not going to ride even near traffic. Its no different then standing next to a road asking to get hit.Bike riders or often on bikes on busy roadways at night because they themselfs don’t have a licence to drive due to a OWI.

    • Ron

      Actually a bicyclist has every right to be on the road. They are required to follow the same laws as vehicles, which he was. They had all required equipment. People that think otherwise need to do some fact finding before giving their input.

      • jess

        They do have the right, but, they are supposed to follow the law.
        I know, everyone is going to jump on me and say cars break laws too.

        You are right, they do. But, when there is a bike/car accident, the person in the car is immediately considered at fault.

        I had an A**hole on a bike run a stop sign one day and come within about a foot of plowing into the front end of my car. he (adult, not teen( turned around and grinned and waved at me. It was very intentional. If I had hit him, the fact that he ran the stop sign would have been irrelevant, I would have been at fault.

        And, if you want the right to ride your bike on the road, it should be REQUIRED to have certain safety equipment, like a car, be registered, like a car, be licensed, like a car, and the rider be licensed, like the driver of a car. Kids riding on sidewalks in urban areas exempt. If you are riding on the roadway, where the speed limit is over 25, you need to be just as licensed, registered, etc, as a car. You want the rights of a car, you get the expenses of a car.

        We spend boat loads of money to build bike trails. Then we spend boat loads of money to put bike lanes on vehicle roads. Then we say that ‘bikes have all the rights of a car’. Then let them share in the expense. Let them have license plates so when one violates the laws of the road, they can be ticketed too.

    • Holly

      Hello! The bicyclist was drunk and he pulled out in front of the truck. Check your facts, and yes it is a fact. Check the bicyclists facebook page.

      • Holly

        Lol, it’s funny to watch morons post against pot. You don’t know what you are talking about! MIKE

      • zn0rseman

        I know Chris and have read his Facebook page, nowhere did it indicate that he was drunk. That said, regardless of whether he did anything that could have contributed to the accident, a driver high (it doesn’t really matter on what) is impared no matter how you look at it. It is worse than drunk driving, not only because it has a greater impact on reaction time, but also because it is an illegal narcotic.

        Would this tragedy have happened had the kid not been as high as a kite? I’m going to guess the answer is probably not.

  • Rich

    Of course we have a, “propaganda against pot” guy here…. I’ve been around people who smoke bud and their thinking and speech can get rather slow…. but then again, it’s just propaganda against pot right?

  • gimmieabreak

    check em’ all for marijuana, cop included.
    test will show positive results 30 days old thereby “high on pot” while bicycling, and the cop will be cited for “high on pot” while on the job.
    cops have the best weed.

  • John

    If you wawnt o smoke weed move to CO or go to Cali and tell a doctor you are stressed. You cannot defend a loser killing a person oryou cannot you blame the cyclist because some idiot decides they need to drive under the influance.

    • I am so high right now :)

      I’ve been smokin weed all dayand am pretty stoned and will not be driving anywhere because I know better. Just like those who drink should know better to not drive after drinking. I will have to call for a taxi if I want to go to Dairy Queen later for a hugh hot fudge sundae when the munchies kick in. Yummy

  • bdouble

    Isn’t pot harmless? Watching Dennison blame the bike rider cracks me up, that guy must smoke so much….

    • William Denison

      Pot didn’t hit that guy on the bike. The guy who might and I’ll emphasize might of smoked pot hit 4he guy on the bike after the bike rider pulled out in front of him you big dummy.

    • Holly

      It is the bike riders fault dummy! He was drunk and pulled out in front of the truck. Get a clue!

  • gimmieabreak

    I’ve been driving high for decades, been stopped many times for speeding, seatbelts, communists style check points and cops don’t have a clue.
    drive drunk, now that’s another story.

  • Gary Purdy

    If we can ban fisherman, from a river in Iowa, then lets ban bicycles from our highways. The fisherman are not getting killed, the bicycilst are. So lets ban them from our roadways,
    end of the problem.

Comments are closed.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.