Pharmacist says Weisenberg was not under the influence

July 30, 2011

Kaylee Weisenberg


Santa Maria pharmacist Neemah Yamin-Esfandiary testified Thursday that Kaylee Weisenberg, who is accused of killing California Highway Patrol Officer Bret Oswald in a June 27, 2010, crash on South River Road outside of Paso Robles, was not under the influence of methamphetamine at the time of the accident.

Yamin-Esfandiary, a clinical pharmacist at Marian Medical Center in Santa Maria, refuted prior testimony of two toxicologists serving as expert witnesses for the prosecution. The toxicologists, one from Pennsylvania and one from Clovis, said Weisenberg, 23, tested positive for methamphetamine the evening after the crash.

“I believe that any form of intoxication stemmed from the drug is simply theoretical,” Yamin-Esfandiary said.

Yamin-Esfandiary’s testimony focused on the Drug Recognition Evaluation (DRE) performed on Weisenberg at Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton following the crash. Weisenberg passed the DRE, and Yaminesfandarry said the conclusion of the report should hold.

“There would have been additional signs that could indicate that the downside of methamphetamine was evident,” Yamin-Esfandiary said. “I did not see any of those in the report, so my conclusion based on that is that there were no signs of intoxication.”

The administrator of the DRE, CHP Officer David Reed, testified Monday for the prosecution saying that Weisenberg showed no signs of intoxication. In speaking with Cal Coast News, however, the prosecution discounted its own witness.

“[Reed] conducted a drug recognition exam under conditions that were chaotic,” co-prosecutor Steve Wagner said. “His ultimate conclusion [was that Weisenberg was sober], but that’s not synonymous with not being under the influence while driving on South River Road.”

During cross-examination of Yamin-Esfandiary, Deputy District Attorney Lee Cunningham said there were indications that Weisenberg was on the downside of methampetamine that did not appear in the DRE. Cunningham cited reports from the hospital that Weisenberg was lethargic with a blank stare and droopy eyes. But, Yamin-Esfandiary dismissed those signs as circumstantial evidence, saying that they could have been the result of lack of sleep and physical and emotional distress from the crash.

Earlier in the day, accident reconstructionist and retired LAPD collision investigator Mallie Donahoe testified that Weisenberg was driving approximately 63 mph before breaking when the accident occurred.

Donahoe’s conclusion was well below the CHP’s determined speed of 80 mph. The large gap in calculations can be attributed to disagreement over the existence of yaw marks, or swerving tire marks, at the scene of the crash. Donahoe said there was no evidence of yaw marks while the CHP said there was.

Likewise, Donahoe testified that Weisenberg’s vehicle had to have been traveling under 50 mph at point of impact. Donahoe said that a pedestrian would fly up and over the windshield if the car were driving faster than 50 mph. Oswald’s body landed on the windshield.

Weisenberg has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, inflicting great bodily injury in the commission of a felony and driving under the influence causing great bodily injury.

The trial resumes Monday at 9:30 a.m. before Judge John Trice. Monday afternoon the jury will take a trip to the scene of the accident and walk the path of Weisenberg’s vehicle. The road will be closed to the public.



  1. willie says:

    It is strange that:
    If someone pointed a gun into a crowd and started shooting and killed someone because he was distraught, he would be charged for murder.
    Yet if someone drove a motor vehicle into a crowd and killing someone because he was distraught, he would be charged with involuntary manslaughter/ gross negligence.

    (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  2. danika says:

    My cousin finished his 2nd beer, went out to his car to go to the store for another pack of “smokes” he simply HAD to have in that moment. He gets into his car, starts it up, puts it in reverse and drove right over his 2 year old son who had been playing in the dirt with his toy cars. Leon was so focused on his cigarettes he failed to see his own son playing behind the car.

    Leon was charged with nothing. He was investigated fully by law enforcement and cleared of all wrong doings. His lifelong sentence is carrying the weight of his actions that day along with a photo of his dead son in his wallet. That day was in the summer of 1973. If that same tragedy unfolded today, Leon would not see daylight for many, many years.

    We don’t have “accidents” anymore…

    (1) 5 Total Votes - 3 up - 2 down
    • Nancy says:

      Actually we do still have accidents, it just depends on who you are and who you kill. Foster was speeding and illegally passing while high with ‘active’ THC in his system. He hit an innocent driver and killed her. The same SLO court system decided that it was just an accident, he didn’t go to jail, he went to Europe.

      (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
      • willie says:


        No doubt, the state is hard pressed on this case because a CHP officer was killed.

        (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
  3. willie says:

    So she gets away with killing someone (a lighter sentence) in a motor vehicle for being stupid or ignorant.
    She will be able to recover her drivng priviledge after one year of revocation, that is the present law.

    (-2) 4 Total Votes - 1 up - 3 down
    • Cindy says:

      What the heck Willie? Nobody is talking about her getting away with anything, we are talking about making the charge fit the crime. This girl is on trial for SECOND DEGREE MURDER. Does that sound right to you? Before you answer, please confirm that you know what second degree murder is and that you recognize that it carries a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison. Then consider that there is more proof that she was not driving impaired than evidence that she was impaired and there is more proof that she was driving 8-9 miles over the speed limit rather than 25 miles over the speed limit.

      (-2) 8 Total Votes - 3 up - 5 down
      • willie says:

        I am not up to date
        45 years ago I was taught the Penal Code, there was 14 absolute defenses to a crime at that time.
        One of the defense was idiosy.
        There was some reasoning to it at that time. I am out of date but if the law is the same, she cannot be charged for a crime.
        I am a little more updated with Vehicle Code Laws, currently the longest a person can be revoked for negligence including involuntary man slaughter is one year unless other unsafe reasons exist, there is only one law that authorized permanent life time revocation and that is using a vehicle with intent to kill.

        (-1) 1 Total Votes - 0 up - 1 down
        • fhill123 says:

          IDIOCY as in not speaking or writing English well? There WERE 14 defenses. Willie, go back to school.

          (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
      • willie says:

        This is what I see so far:
        One Expert Witness (pharmacist) sucessfully rebutting the testimony of two Expert Witness (Toxicologist) for the state.
        The only thing left is the negligence which could get her convicted of involuntary man slaughter.
        However if the defense brings in an expert witness (for example Ian Parkinson) who can rebut the CHP investigation, then all thats left is a violation of Section 22349 and 22350 CVC.

        (-3) 3 Total Votes - 0 up - 3 down
    • unlisted says:

      And, she’ll get to “accidentally” kill another person because Kaylee doesn’t believe in suspended licenses or posted speed limits or driving safely.

      (3) 7 Total Votes - 5 up - 2 down
  4. Cindy says:

    There is a difference between being under the influence and “driving impaired”. That’s why they have the field sobriety test that will be followed up with a breath or chemical test if a person doesn’t pass the field sobriety test. We are all to some extent under the influence at .07% BAC but it doesn’t impair our ability to drive. The same applies to medications and if she passed her field sobriety test then she was able to safely operate a vehicle. Those tests aren’t that easy to pass, they don’t just watch for whether a person walks a straight line heal to toe but they watch for a person following all the instructions to the T. This means, do not raise hands more than 6 inches from your side at any time, do not leave more than 1/4 inch between heal and toe, do not take more than 9 steps, do not turn on one foot but turn like you were instructed, do not start until told to do so, do not sway or step outside the line, etc., those are all the things they look for and two little errors (even for a few seconds) will cause you to fail on that one test alone.

    I also noticed that the CHP claimed that her tires left the road which means her car propelled itself into the air. They had to make that claim in order to make a determination that she was driving at 80mph because her skid marks indicated that she was driving much slower. The CHP appears to have attempted to enhance the degree of her negligence, this is not acceptable and if done intentionally, it should be criminal.

    It appears that they have thrown the book at her because of who she killed, I hope the jury see’s through all this and finds her guilty of the crime she actually committed without consideration of the fact that the victim was a CHP, his life was no more important than any other citizen. Taking those sharp curves at 64mph was reckless and in this instance there was somebody standing in the wrong place at the wrong time, she will have to pay for her need to speed and the loss of life that followed but a “murderer” she is not, that is, in my opinion and I find the attempts to enhance her crime despicable. It’s called “railroading”.

    (2) 22 Total Votes - 12 up - 10 down
    • danika says:

      I agree, once again, with you Cindy. There does seem to be some questions rising in this case that lends truth that this woman had the book thrown at her because of who her victim was. While his passing was tragic and heartbreaking, he was an officer who held firmly to our justice system; clearly gave his life to support it. I am certain he would want this young woman to pay ONLY for those crimes she committed and not any inflated charges that are rendered against her unfairly due to his having been a LEO. He was that kind of man.

      (2) 6 Total Votes - 4 up - 2 down
      • unlisted says:

        Don’t you think her reckless driving history might be at least part of the reason they threw the book at her???

        “Weisenberg had five prior traffic collisions in the same 2004 Toyota Corolla; she was at fault in all of them, (Prosecutor Lee) Cunningham said. She also had seven additional traffic citation convictions — four of them for excessive speed. Her license had been suspended four times; the last time was one day prior to the fatal incident.”

        Give me a break about this poor woman being railroaded. Kaylee causes one accident a year!!!

        Second degree murder includes killing someone as a result of extreme recklessness or gross negligence. The jury will have to decide whether Kaylee’s recklessness was extreme enough to be convicted.

        (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down
        • Cindy says:

          Her record show’s two license suspensions (including this last one) and a failure to stop before making a right turn on a red light. She also had a failure to appear for that infraction. There is also a citation for a dry reckless. The reckless probably caused a suspension as did the failure to appear. I don’t have access to the DMV records however I don’t doubt that she had some car accidents but if they were all her fault, why wasn’t she cited? I am seeing only those two (above mentioned) citations against her on her police record and then of course there is the murder charge showing up. Tickets, citations do show up on this record, an accident would not show up unless she was citied for it. As for her causing injuries, they couldn’t have been anything serious (probably phony whip lash claims) or she would have been cited. That doesn’t sound like a murderer to me, it sounds like a “harebrained” teenage driver who managed to commit man slaughter.

          (-2) 2 Total Votes - 0 up - 2 down
          • unlisted says:

            Perhaps she wasn’t cited for her previous accidents because she didn’t killed a cop those times???

            (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
  5. bobfromsanluis says:

    “I am sorry, this guy is a pharmacist…. ” Yeah, you’ve got that right, you are sorry. Clinical Pharmacist definition: ” A Clinical Pharmacist is in charge of providing various services to the Division Director, such as taking part in continuing education programs for Medical staff, health care services, and Pharmacy students, advising physicians on drug usage and dose control in hospitals and clinics, and assisting the Division Director in his everyday duties.” In other words, the witness is not “just a pharmacist”, his credentials go much higher, his educations requirements are more stringent and so his testimony does carry validity. This young woman took the life of a dedicated law officer, that is fact that cannot be refuted, she needs to pay for her actions, period; the attempts by the DA to somehow enhance her crime by trying to tack on additional violations is pathetic and they should focus on her speed, her state of attentiveness while driving and her record behind the wheel. She is guilty, make the charges stick by going for what you can prove beyond a “reasonable doubt” and have her serve her time.

    (5) 7 Total Votes - 6 up - 1 down
    • danika says:

      I feel if the testimony for this Clinical Pharmacist were provided by the prosecution and not the defense, the validity of the same testimony would have carried more weight. If the pharmacist had said “Yes, she was high on meth.” many here would likely have given him a high-five and not questioned his being “just” a pharmacist.

      People don’t have accidents anymore. It is simply not acceptable to us. Did this girl intentionally kill the officer with her car? No. Did she drive under the influence of Meth, at high rates of speed, uncaringly, and kill the officer with her car? Likely not (by the new facts provided by the defense). Did this girl drive recklessly and accidently strike the officer, causing his death. Absolutely.

      I feel she likely was not on meth at the time of the accident. I think she was highly irresponsible in her speed and lack of control of the vehicle. She killed him, yes, but not willfully or intentionally.

      She is guilty of causing his death. She should be sentenced accordingly and held to whatever punishment is deemed just for only what she actually did.

      My knee-jerk reaction to first hearing of this horrendous tragedy was: another Meth head behind the wheel, driving way over the limit on a dangerous road, killed an officer of the law with her car because of her actions….she should get life! Now, as the facts are unfolding, I have learned a valuable lesson, one that TQ has often tried to teach me in her posts here: wait for it…all the evidence must be presented before GUILT is decided. Another “shame-on-me” moment.
      TQ, I am not too old to learn! (but I still won’t vote for Obama! (wink) ).

      (-1) 5 Total Votes - 2 up - 3 down
  6. rogerfreberg says:

    “I believe that any form of intoxication stemmed from the drug is simply theoretical,”

    I am sorry, this guy is a pharmacist… if he worked in a drug research lab, he’d have more credibility.

    (-1) 17 Total Votes - 8 up - 9 down
    • r0y says:

      Who do you think works in a drug research lab? I think you might want to investigate what a clinical pharmacist is, and what they often do…

      (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down
    • willie says:

      This person qualifes as an expert witness under the evidence code, however to the two toxicologist need to be recalled for counter rebuttal “or they must go by the existing rebutted evidence!”

      (-1) 1 Total Votes - 0 up - 1 down

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