Crime

Suspect in fatal Los Osos crash admitted taking heroin and meth, report says

One of three cars involved in a fatal crash Wednesday, June 18, on South Bay Boulevard in Los Osos.
One of three cars involved in a fatal crash Wednesday, June 18, on South Bay Boulevard in Los Osos. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

A Paso Robles man charged with vehicular manslaughter admitted to injecting methamphetamine and heroin just prior to a head-on crash that killed a Los Osos teen, a court document shows.

Alexander Paul Gonzales, 22, is charged with causing the June 18 death of Jackson Garland, 18. Garland and Gonzales were driving in opposite directions on South Bay Boulevard around 5:07 p.m. that day when Gonzales allegedly crossed the center line and hit Garland.

Garland died at the scene.

After the accident, Gonzales was charged with driving under the influence and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. His attorney, Darryl Genis, issued a statement, suggesting the charges were filed prematurely. Genis said toxicology reports would show Gonzales was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Genis could not be reached for comment late Friday.

Genis had requested the $100,000 bail set for Gonzales be reduced so Gonzales could return to work as a custodian at Cal Poly housing and resume studies at Cuesta College, where he was working toward a welding certificate.

As a result, the probation department filed a report earlier this month, recommending against lowering the bail, saying Gonzales, who lived with his parents at the time of the crash, had admitted to using heroin and meth.

“The defendant admitted to feeling the effects while driving and decided to continue driving, ultimately causing a fatality,” the report states, noting that Gonzales had drifted into oncoming traffic.

Deputy District Attorney Sandra Mitchell strongly opposed the reduction, the report noted.

“Due to the seriousness of the charges and community safety concerns,” the report concluded, “it is recommended that O.R. (own recognizance) release be denied and bail should remain as set.”

Gonzales, whose request for lower bail was denied, remains in jail. He is scheduled to appear in court for an arraignment Aug. 25.

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