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Driver in fatal accident had ongoing drug issues

The driver who killed two teenagers in the summer last year talked about an ongoing problem with addictions.
Posted on March 9, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on March 9, 2013 at 4:07 p.m.

ELKHART — Daniel Snead knew that using illegal drugs was wrong. But for him, it was always acceptable to use them.

“Everybody was doing it,” he said about his closest friends and most people he knew.

His family knew vaguely that he was doing drugs and possibly abusing alcohol, but they never confronted him about it.

“I don’t know the whole situation (about Snead’s use of drugs), I’m not the kind of person he would tell that to,” said Sandra Ford, Snead’s sister. “He would hide that from me and he would never openly show me what he was doing.”

He never saw a negative outcome from using marijuana or methamphetamine. Marijuana and alcohol eased physical and emotional pain. Methamphetamine kept him up and active.

He could only recall one time when a friend of his was arrested for attempting to manufacture meth, but that was about the only time he saw any negative consequence for using the drug.

Snead, 43, has been arrested multiple times throughout his life had only once gone through drug addictions treatment.

“I fell through the cracks so many times that I thought I could just get away with it.”

In 2011 he was arrested for public intoxication. But he could still get away with using drugs while under treatment. Meth does not take long to leave the system, so Snead was still using meth while going under treatment, despite going through drug screenings every now and then.

He was still under treatment when he was involved in an accident that took the lives of Daniel Runion and David Anglemyer early the morning of June 7, 2012.

Runion, 19, and Anglemyer, 18, were riding their bikes east on C.R. 20 at about 5:50 a.m. They had just bought Anglemyer’s bike a few hours prior and were heading from Runion’s house to Anglemyer’s, in Goshen.

Snead said he had used meth the day before the accident. In the early morning of June 7 he drove his girlfriend to work release and was on his way back home when he fell asleep on the wheel.

“I started feeling a little tired, but I didn’t think I would fall asleep on the wheel. I had no idea that was going to happen.”

He remembers waking up from the impact of his car against a wall, but he doesn’t remember hitting the two teenagers. His first reaction was getting out of the car to check the damage.

“When I got out of the car and looked at the road I saw two people lying there.”

Snead doesn’t remember much of what happened next, although witnesses told police they saw Snead screaming and trying to help keep one of the teenagers alive before medics arrived.

Anglemyer died instantly after the accident of blunt force trauma. Runion was airlifted to Memorial Hospital in South Bend, where he died four hours after the accident.

Snead was taken to the hospital, where he was checked for any injuries from the crash. He also willingly gave a blood sample for the accident investigation.

Ford said her brother was taken to their mother’s house, where he lived for the next few weeks until he was arrested Aug. 30.

“He was so hurt and shaken by what had happened. He was in so much pain that he needed medication,” she said. “We could not leave him alone, he was suicidal.”

Snead was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder following the accident. He was prescribed two antidepressants as treatment. Inside the jail he refrains from showing his emotions to avoid being harassed by other inmates. At times he takes showers so he can have some time alone to cry.

Before the accident Snead did not seek counseling for prior events and disturbances in his life.

A ROUGH ROAD

Snead admitted to having started using marijuana and alcohol at age 14 because it was viewed acceptable among his friends. Many other times he smoked or drank to “fit in” with his peers.

“(The drugs) scared me when I was younger but I kept using them because they changed my mood and they made me feel better.”

His personal life only made him vulnerable to falling into addictions.

Snead grew up in Elkhart with three sisters and a brother. His parents were in an abusive relationship that ended when his father and some of his siblings left to another state. He stayed in Elkhart with his mother and became the “man of the house” at an early age.

He had his first child, a girl, at age 19, but she died when she was only 3 months old of sudden infant death syndrome. A few years later his brother died. Snead stopped caring much about anything after that.

He started using meth at age 23 to get a stronger high. Meth causes increased activity and talkativeness, as well as decreased appetite and a general sense of well-being, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse. Snead said the drug would make him good and active enough to complete menial tasks like cleaning his house. He said he never had to actually purchase it because it was always made available to him by the people he knew.

He never felt like he reached a low in his addictions, until the fatal accident last year. To him that was a turning point.

UNCERTAIN FUTURE

Snead will always live with his PTSD, said his attorney, Michelle Voirol. He will continue having nightmares about the accident and what resulted of it.

Snead pleaded guilty to two counts of causing the death of another while driving under the influence of a schedule II substance or its metabolite in the person’s blood Jan. 17. He was sentenced Feb. 21 to 18 years in prison, six years in alternative placement, and six years on probation. He is being held at the Elkhart County Jail waiting to be transported to the Indiana Department of Correction.

“The prosecution and myself worked very hard to come up with a solution that families could live with,” said Voirol. “And I know some of the family members wanted Daniel to receive the harshest penalty, but we believe that the sentence imposed was an appropriate sentence.”

Snead has tried to find the most appropriate words to communicate to the family of the victims.

“I would do whatever it took to make the pain go away. To make them feel better,” he said. “I know what it feels like to lose a child.”

Snead looks forward to getting treated for his addictions and taking some trade courses at the DOC.

What happens after that is up to him. A first attempt to rehabilitate Snead from his addictions failed when he continued using drugs even during the ongoing treatment.

“Rehabilitation didn’t happen with Daniel Snead and we need to find out why,” said Voirol in speaking about Snead’s public intoxication conviction. “Was it his fault? Yes, but (another question to ask is) what could the system have done to rehabilitate this man that it failed to do?”




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