The life of a 6-year-old Milwaukee boy in mid-April might have been spared if the driver who hit him had not been impaired by marijuana. The parents of the child will never know if the reaction time of the 22-year-old driver would have been different without an illegal drug in his system that day.

Police records say the responsible driver was unlicensed, something the young man told authorities he had planned to correct. The accused apparently was in the process of studying for a driver’s test, but chose to operate a motor vehicle without having passed the exam.

Officials say the suspected impaired driver did not try to escape responsibility. The man waited for emergency responders and admitted that his car hit the child as the boy was crossing the street. The 6-year-old was the second boy the driver saw running in the road toward a playground on the west side of 51st Street. The first child crossed safely.

Investigators interviewed the inexperienced driver and discovered that the suspect had smoked an undisclosed amount of marijuana in the hours leading up to the fatal pedestrian accident. If the driver is found guilty, the man could spend much of the rest of his early adulthood behind bars. The charges carry a maximum fine of $10,000 and a prison term as long as six years.

At some point, the driver responsible for this tragedy will return to his life and day-to-day activities. The boy, who focused more on reaching a playground than on the dangers on a Milwaukee street, will not have the same opportunity.

Source:, “Milwaukee man charged with striking, killing Christopher Wade,” Cary Docter, April 26, 2012