Fla. man to face trial in fatal Italian Market crash

A pathologist testified today that a 28-year-old Florida man was under the influence of marijuana and incapable of driving when he caused a March crash that killed an 11-year-old girl.

Max Drosi, of Miami, was arrested following the March 25 crash at Eighth and Washington in the Italian Market neighborhood. He is charged with simple assault and recklessly endangering another person and jailed on $500,000 bail.

Prosecutors said Drosi was driving a silver Chevy Impala traveling west on Washington Avenue when he ran a red light and collided with a Nissan Xterra, causing it to lose control and go onto the sidewalk, crashing into four pedestrians and a market. Samantha Nguyen-Ortanez, 11, was pinned between the building and the SUV and pronounced dead at the scene. A 2-year-old boy was also injured.

Dr. Richard Cohn testified that Drosi tested positive for high levels of marijuana. While Drosi told police he had last smoked the night before, Cohn said it likely occurred four to seven hours before the crash based on the test results.

Two police officers also testified that Drosi had an odor of marijuana following the crash and had bloodshot eyes. One of the officers also noted dilated pupils and a “slow and unsteady walk.”

According to Drosi’s statement, which was partially read, he told police he was trying to locate Geno’s Steaks using a GPS device when he went through a red light and slammed on the brakes. “I shouldn’t have run the red light. I should’ve stopped,” Drosi said, according to Police Officer Patrick Farrell.

Common Pleas Court Judge Dawn Segal ordered Drosi to stand trial on both charges. A formal arraignment is scheduled for July 3.

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