Debilitating DUI crash deemed misdemeanor

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CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga.,None - A biker who was nearly killed in a DUI crash is outraged the case is only a misdemeanor because the driver is accused of being high on marijuana -- and not drunk from alcohol.

“What he did is not a small thing. He changed many lives forever,” former soldier John McLean told Channel 2’s Tom Regan.

McLean was struck by a car at the intersection at Eagle Drive and Townlake Parkway in Cherokee County in April 2010. His motorcycle was ripped apart, and he was severely injured.

"At first, they thought I was dead on the scene," McLean said.

But when he woke up he was faced with a missing leg, broken bones in his arm, hand and face and partial blindness.

"I woke up from a coma, and my mother told me a car hit me,” McLean said. “I hadn't realized until I woke up my leg was gone."

The other driver, Codie Roy Khanamakhon, then 18, was charged with driving under influence of marijuana.
       
"Because it was marijuana, and not alcohol, it's hard to prove that that impaired his abilities," McLean said.

That's why, McLean said, the charge against the teen is only a misdemeanor, not a felony. McLean said a solicitor told him if the case is tried in traffic court next month, Khanamakhon could walk away with probation.

"I can roll into the courtroom and watch what they call justice and roll out, and he can go out and celebrate with his friends that night," McLean said.

Cherokee County district attorney Gary Moss told Regan his office has submitted blood tests to an independent lab to determine if the case can be prosecuted under additional charges. In the meantime, McLean is facing millions of dollars in unpaid medical bills.



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