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Document: Driver admitted to smoking marijuana, drinking before crash that killed three

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — The man accused of causing a crash that killed three young women in Pawtucket last month admitted to police that he smoked two marijuana joints before driving and drank beer earlier in the day, according to a document obtained by Eyewitness News.

The detective’s affidavit filed in Providence District Court includes a summary of an interview with James Belanger, 21, who is facing a list of charges in connection with the April 6 crash on Walcott Street.

Fatima Rosa, Emily Howell, Theresa Leary, all of West Warwick, died in the crash. The three women were in the backseat of the sedan that split in half on impact. A front seat passenger, identified in the affidavit as Anthony Denny, survived.

According to the affidavit, a friend told Belanger, “you are too drunk to talk right now” earlier in the evening before he got behind the wheel.

In an emergency room interview with police, Belanger told a detective he had “a couple of beers earlier in the day” and smoked two marijuana joints before driving. He claimed that a car either hit him or cut him off, causing him to swerve into the pole.

Belanger also told police he left the scene of the crash because he was trying to get help, according to the document.

Police initially charged Belanger with driving to endanger – death resulting, duty to stop – death resulting along with drug possession charges. On April 27, police received the results of a blood test that confirmed Belanger’s blood alcohol content was .139, above the legal limit of .08. Belanger was subsequently charged with DUI – death resulting.

He is due back in court on July 21.

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