D.C.’s Burgeoning PCP Problem?
According to prosecutors, the Toyota Camry 37-year old Mary Elizabeth Wimbush was driving with her four children inside on April 12, 2010, "traveled approximately 47 feet backward after impact."
On Jan. 7, the clean-cut, caramel-colored 35-year-old believed responsible hung his head as Judge Thomas Motley read an account of what happened. Though he'd come into the brightly lit room to plead guilty, if Ajene Jones killed that woman—hurt her children—he didn't mean to. Standing in room 319 of the D.C. Superior Court building in an orange prison jump suit, he told the judge he didn't even remember the day in its entirety.
What he does remember: Using a Dodge Ram van to help a friend move out of an apartment. Buying and smoking a PCP-laced cigarette. Then, being strapped to an ambulance stretcher. "You were in an accident," he was told.
But no matter how out of it Jones might have been, police wouldn't see what happened as an accident. They'd see it as murder. At about 7:00 pm., Jones zoomed the van he was driving onto the 3600 block of Alabama Avenue SE, doing over 52 mph in a 25-mph zone. He was also driving down the wrong side of the street. He burst into Wimbush's life like a cannon.
As Jones agreed to a deal in which he would enter an Alford plea of guilty to voluntary manslaughter and aggravated assault charges, Motley made sure he understood what that meant. "I could sentence you up to 50 years, do you understand that?" the judge asked. Jones said he did. He'll be sentenced on March 11.
In the future, there could be more incidents like the one Jones was convicted of. Though in the District, PCP isn't as prevalent as crack, a 2010 Metropolitan Police Department intelligence report obtained from a police source says use of the drug is increasing: "Presently, the number of PCP users in the District of Columbia is low, but has increased threefold over the past two years and the demand for PCP continues to rise." (Of course, such reports are frequently used to justify budget requests for more resources to fight whatever scourge they're about.)
The report also mentions how "street distributors" peddle the drug in or around public housing complexes and residential housing areas, and that the business can be lucrative.
"Most street sellers possess either one ounce or a half ounce clear glass bottle containing the liquid PCP," the report says. "The buyer will produce their own cigarette to the seller." Sellers then dip the buyers' cigarettes in the drug. Newport is the most popular cigarette used for the "dipper," the report says. The doused cigarettes costs about $25 a pop.