REGIONAL- David Kevin Medicine, 38, of Virginia, was sentenced Monday to 41 months in prison for criminal vehicular homicide that caused the death of Cathy Marjorie Johnson, 61, of Tower, in an …
REGIONAL- David Kevin Medicine, 38, of Virginia, was sentenced Monday to 41 months in prison for criminal vehicular homicide that caused the death of Cathy Marjorie Johnson, 61, of Tower, in an accident that occurred the evening of Oct. 21 when Medicine was driving under the influence of marijuana.
Johnson was a passenger in Medicine’s 2013 Chevy Impala, on the way back from Virginia, when the vehicle slammed into the back end of a pickup truck that was stopped at a traffic blockage at the junction of Hwy. 169 and Fireweed Rd. Johnson, who was riding in the back seat and was not wearing a seatbelt, suffered fatal injuries in the crash. Another passenger in the Impala, Angela Buckanaga, 45, of Tower, was treated for non-life-threatening injuries, as were two individuals in the pickup truck, Gregory Lenz, 58, of Embarrass, and Carl Brummund, 56, of Ely.
Medicine did not have a current driver’s license, and had been driving without one since his license was revoked in a DWI violation over ten years ago.
Medicine pleaded guilty to an amended charge of criminal vehicular homicide while under the influence of marijuana on Dec. 18. In exchange, the four original charges filed against him, including two felony charges of criminal vehicular homicide and gross misdemeanors for criminal vehicular operation were dismissed.
The sentence is short of the 48 months called for on the standard sentencing schedule that was asked for by county prosecuting attorney Bonnie Norlander, but significantly more than the one-year sentence to the Northeast Regional Corrections Center minimum/medium security work farm in Saginaw, as sought by Medicine’s Public Defender Bruce Williams.
In a statement filed with the court, Medicine expressed remorse for the accident.
“I want to say that I am very sorry to the Johnson family,” he wrote. “Cathy was my Auntie and she referred to me as her nephew. We’ve shared more ‘I love you’s’ than I have with my own family. We all miss our mom, grandmother, and auntie. I know anything I do will never bring her back. I have to live with that guilt for the rest of my life. I know it’s not going to be easy, but I am determined to live a sober life and will do everything I can to achieve sobriety. I never want to hurt another family like this or my own family ever again.”
On Tuesday, County Attorney Kim Maki issued a statement about the case.
“During a time when the possession of marijuana is increasingly legalized, this tragic accident is a reminder to everyone that marijuana does impair a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle. When a person chooses to operate a motor vehicle after ingesting marijuana, the safety of the community is put at risk. Mr. Medicine’s decision to drive on Oct. 21, 2023, resulted in tragic and irreparable consequences,” Maki said.
Maki extended condolences to the family of Johnson on behalf of the county attorney’s office, noting that she “was a mother and a grandmother who enjoyed life, her grandkids,her garden and creating in the kitchen.”