Suspect blames synthetic marijuana for chase

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 17, 2011

By Shelley Smith
The Salisbury man who led deputies on a high-speed chase across northern and eastern Rowan County on Wednesday night says he will never again smoke the synthetic marijuana — Wicked X — that caused him to hallucinate, imagining that the United States was under attack by aliens.
Richard Donald Blanscet, 21, of 170 Sailboat Drive, said the substance made him believe aliens had invaded, and he said he felt the need to drive off to save his girlfriend.
Blanscet was arrested after the chase and charged with driving while impaired, felony speeding to elude arrest and resisting a public officer. He was given a $2,500 secured bond.
“I really thought (an invasion) was happening, and that masses were being evacuated and that the police lights were not necessarily part of attacking me, but they were helping everyone get out,” Blanscet told the Post on Thursday night.
Authorities said Deputy Josh McHone was dispatched to Blanscet’s home around 7:45 Wednesday night to assist fire and EMS with a combative patient who had consumed an unknown substance. The report did not indicate how the initial call came in.
While McHone was on his way, communications notified him that Blanscet had left the home in a burgundy Jaguar, and nearly collided with an EMS vehicle that was on its way to the home, the report said.
McHone turned onto Scout Road and saw a Liberty Fire Department truck parked at St. Matthews Church. McHone spoke to Fire Chief Darrin Trexler, who said Blanscet had pulled into the cemetery when he saw the blue lights from McHone’s car.
McHone followed Blanscet through the church parking lot, and then Blanscet drove through a ditch and took a left on Bringle Ferry Road. Blanscet led McHone on a chase down Bringle Ferry reaching speeds around 100 mph, and sometimes exceeding 120 mph.
Blanscet attempted to drive through a curve near Poole Road at 80 mph, but didn’t make it, and ran through a field. But he was able to return to the road and pick up speed once again, the report said.
Authorities said Blanscet slowed to 10 mph for a short distance and then stopped.
Blanscet later said his car had turned off, and he had to start it again.
The pursuit continued down Bringle Ferry Road to Ridgecrest Street. Blanscet turned into the parking lot of a store and turned back onto Bringle Ferry, traveling for about a mile before crashing at the intersection of Earnhardt Road.
Blanscet was given standard field sobriety tests, then taken into custody. A blood sample was also taken from Blanscet at Rowan Regional Medical Center.
Blanscet told authorities he didn’t stop for the blue lights because “he realized the invasion was real and the cops were on it,” the report said. He told authorities that he saw a UFO circling above him when he left his home, and needed to save his girlfriend, the report said.
A search of Blanscet’s home turned up the synthetic marijuana and smoking pipes.
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Blanscet, who said he spent most of Thursday trying to contact and apologize to everyone involved in Wednesday night’s events, said the hallucinations felt very real.
“That had never happened before, and it was a very small amount that I had ingested,” he said. “And it was at least an hour before this had occurred.
“But it was real. This was the realest thing I’ve ever felt, and I’ve never felt more terrified in my life.”
He said that to be around any electronic device was painful, the equivalent to a fog horn going off next to his ear.
“And it was completely random,” he said. “I was on the other side of the house and I heard this coming from the living room (television).”
Blanscet said that if stores can continue to sell the synthetic marijuana, it should only be available to those 21 years and older, and “go through very, very extreme measures so that (things) like this won’t happen,” he said.
“It was the craziest thing I’ve ever experienced in my entire life,” he said. “I had no intention of running from police.”