Drugs are suspected to have contributed to a fatal collision on Highway 70 last week that resulted in the death of a Marysville man.

At around 5 a.m. on Friday, Brian Allen, 64, was killed when a 1994 Honda Accord driven by Edgar Allan Ernst, 38, of Rio Linda, crossed the center divider and while traveling in the wrong direction, collided with Allen’s 2007 Kia Optima, according to the California Highway Patrol.

At the time of the collision north of Feather River Boulevard, Ernst was traveling northbound on Highway 70 and Allen was traveling southbound. The speed of both vehicles prior to the collision is unknown. The Honda came to rest on its roof on the right shoulder of southbound Highway 70. The Kia rested facing a southeasterly direction on its wheels, blocking two lanes of traffic. The collision caused major damage to both vehicles.

Allen was killed in the collision due to a major head injury. Ernst suffered a laceration to the chin and complained of back pain, according to CHP.

Ernst was arrested and booked into Yuba County Jail on Friday.

The Yuba County District Attorney’s Office charged Ernst with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, DUI causing injury, and misdemeanor counts of driving on a suspended license and possessing paraphernalia.

Ernst appeared in court on Monday for an arraignment and John Abril from the public defender’s office entered not guilty pleas on Ernst’s behalf. The DA’s office also charged Ernst with a prior strike for a burglary conviction in Placer County in 2005. The prior strike doubles his possible sentence, meaning he faces up to 38 years in prison.

Cathrine Traynor with the Yuba County Probation Department said Ernst was under the influence of methamphetamine while driving and was found with a meth pipe at the scene of the collision. She recommended to the court that Ernst not be released on his own recognizance. 

Judge Benjamin Wirtschafter followed that recommendation and denied Ernst’s release. He kept bail at $250,000.

Ernst will next appear in court on June 2 at 9 a.m.

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