Police: Driver admitted to smoking fentanyl before hitting, killing pedestrian

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Police arrested a Warwick man on a DUI charge after a pedestrian was fatally struck in the city late Tuesday night.

According to police, a man was crossing Main Avenue just before 10:30 p.m. when he was hit by a car traveling eastward. He was transported to Rhode Island Hospital, where he later succumbed to his injuries.

Police Wednesday afternoon identified the victim as 23-year-old David Bustin, who was originally from Pembroke, Mass. and currently residing on Main Avenue. Investigators are working to figure out whether or not he was in a crosswalk when he was struck.

The driver, Marshall Howard, stayed on the scene, according to police, but failed a field sobriety test.

Howard, 24, was arrested and charged with driving under the influence, death resulting, as well as driving with a suspended license. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on Wednesday and released on $50,000 personal recognizance.

In court, prosecutors revealed Howard admitted to police that he had smoked fentanyl while working as a pizza delivery driver. Prosecutors also said police seized a glass pipe and a straw with what’s believed to be fentanyl residue from his car, as well as 9.4 grams of marijuana.

Police said the preliminary alcohol test came back zero, but they’re still awaiting the results of a blood test.

“It’s bad enough that the parents of the other person have to bury their son,” Howard’s father said outside court. “Two lives are being ruined: one’s been extinguished, and his life is forever changed.”

A friend of the victim said Bustin was a smart, talented kid who had recently graduated from New England Tech and landed a job as a welder at Electric Boat.

“I want to be there for his family and my friends as much as I can,” said James Talley. “It can happen to anybody.”

Howard is due back in court Aug. 21. The judge said the prison term for DUI, death resulting, is between five and 15 years.

The crash remains under investigation.Anyone who may have witnessed the crash or has any other information is asked to call the Warwick Police Traffic Unit at (401) 468-4343.