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Jun 20, 2014 1:38 AM by Sam Salzwedel

COURT RECORDS: Driver charged with killing cyclist was on synthetic marijuana

TUCSON - The driver who hit and killed a bicyclist Wednesday was apparently on synthetic marijuana, according to the Interim Complaint.

Gerardo Cazares, 25, was charged with Second Degree murder after the crash. He is being held in the Pima County Jail on a $30,000 bond.

The victim, Kris Chambers, 38, was a massage therapist from the Bay Area in California, according to what appears to be her website.

Cazares "admitted synthetic marijuana use and was in possession of a pipe with residue," according to the Interim Complaint.

Synthetic marijuana is commonly called "K-2" or "spice." It is a man-made chemical that is often sprayed on some type of plant then smoked.

James Charnesky is a DUI attorney who does not represent Cazares. After 16 years and thousands of cases, he said he has never seen a DUI charge from synthetic marijuana. He said it is harder to prove a driver is impaired from drugs than alcohol.

"There's a lack of scientific knowledge related to that drug and how it affects a person," he said, "and specifically, how it affects them for the task of driving."

There were 158 synthetic drugs discovered in 2012, according to the White House. Charnesky said that might make Cazares' blood labs complicated.

"If they don't know what that drug is to start with, it's sort of hard to put it together," Charnesky said. "It's sort of like trying to put a jigsaw puzzle together without knowing the picture."

Charnesky thinks official lab results might take months.

One of Chambers' friends started an online petition requesting Cazares' bond raised to more than $30,000.

The non-profit bicycling group BICAS is organizing a candlelight vigil for Chambers Tuesday, June 24 at 7:30 p.m. at their warehouse located at 44 West 6th Street.

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