BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — On April 18 at 5:44 pm, Gayla Sue Price, 66, mother of two and grandmother of ten, died in a car crash with a driver who was street racing in Bakersfield, and now her family is seeking justice.
On Campus Park Drive in Southwest Bakersfield, Price was driving home from the grocery store in her Honda Civic. Coming from the opposite direction, Kerim Reyab's Dodge Charger hit Price's car nearly head-on, leaving her dead at the scene.
"I knew as soon as the police officers told them to go home, we'll be there," said Price's daughter Crystal Neilson. "I knew… I knew."
Nielson was on a cruise celebrating her daughter's 16th birthday when she heard the news. She says she tried to keep it together for her kids.
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Nielson adds now that to remember her mother, the family is sharing their countless memories of her with each other.
"She was a part of every party, every sporting event. She loved her family and we love her," said Nielson.
Price's son Elve Willis says he spoke with his mom on the phone an hour before the accident, remembering his last words to his mother: I love you.
"I always think that my mom's gonna be there, but she ain't gonna be there no more," said Willis.
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According to court documents, the investigating officer in charge of this case documented that Reyad was going at least 100 miles per hour, double the speed limit.
Court documents go on to say that both of Reyad's passengers witnessed Reyad operating the vehicle under the influence of marijuana.
Upon executing a search warrant, officers found a Supherb wax pen, a marijuana cigar, a Flum Float vape, and the antidepressant duloxetine in the car.
"This isn't like it was at 1 in the morning," said the family's lawyer, Matt Clark. "This was at a time of day when we should all feel safe on our roads."
Clark says he hopes for a charge of murder in the second degree in the criminal case, and his firm will also pursue a civil suit. At this time, Clark says his office is waiting for more information from the Bakersfield Police Department before they file that case.
According to the family, the civil suit is not about money, but about preventing crashes like this from happening again in Bakersfield.
"This young man who was conscious after the wreck didn't even ask how she was. Didn't even ask," said Clark. "That tells you somebody lacks empathy. So to answer your question, what are we going to do in the civil suit; we're going to make sure that this young man never has the means again at any point in his life to do something like this again."
Neilson thinks her life will never return to normal after this.
"I just want him to know that she was very important. Like, she wasn't a nobody," said Nielson.
Reyad and his passengers were injured in the crash. BPD says the investigation is ongoing.
IN-DEPTH: VAPING CANNABIS EXTRACTS
The court documents in this case noted that the passengers in the Dodge Charger reported that the driver, in addition to street racing, had just inhaled the smoke from a cannabis wax concentrate, and police also found items related to using wax in the Charger.
Cannabis wax, which is processed from the familiar plant, can affect how a person operates a motor vehicle, just like any substance that alters a person's perceptions and reaction times.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the flower-clusters of cannabis (marijuana) plants are covered in tiny droplets of resin called trichomes. These trichomes are mushroom-shaped and are where the majority of the THC (the major psychoactive compound in cannabis) produced by the plant is found.
The trichomes can be separated from the buds and collected, then concentrated into various cannabis products, including wax, shatter, budder, glass, and honey. The primary difference between these types of concentrates is viscosity. Different strains of cannabis can be more or less suitable for each of the various types of processes.
Because the concentrates are made only of the part of the plant containing the THC, concentrates can be very potent. Concentrates are usually smoked with dab rigs (essentially hot nails/knives where the heat is provided through an electric heating element on the rig), or vape pens designed specifically for cannabis extracts.
According to the NIH, taking high-THC products carries an increased risk to the consumer of experiencing anxiety, paranoia, and agitation, as well as causing drowsiness, inattention, and slowing reaction times, none of which are good for driving. In extreme cases, the consumption of high-THC products has been linked to the onset of psychosis in users.