Anti-addiction meds caused fatal Los Osos crash, attorney says

April 24, 2015
Alexander Gonzales

Alexander Gonzales

The 22-year-old man accused of using drugs prior to a 2014 crash that killed a Los Osos teen was actually under the influence of anti-addiction medication, his attorney claims.

Last June, Alexander Gonzales, 22, was driving in the wrong lane on South Bay Boulevard in Los Osos when he crashed head on into a vehicle driven by 18-year-old Jackson Garland. Emergency responders pronounced Garland dead at the scene.

Prosecutors allege Gonzales was under the influence of heroin and methamphetamine when the crash occurred. Gonzales admitted to taking heroin and methamphetamine about an hour before the crash, a CHP officer testified Thursday. A statement his attorney said was misconstrued as 4 p.m. when his client meant 4 a.m.

A prosecution document states that both heroin and methamphetamine were found in Gonzales’ blood test.

Four days following the crash, CalCoastNews published a statement submitted by defense attorney Darryl Genis. In the statement, Genis said he fully expected the toxicology report on his client’s blood to show that Gonzales was not under the influence of any alcohol or drugs.

But, Genis does says that his client is clearly an addict. At Thursday’s hearing, Genis said Gonzales passed out while driving home from a doctor’s office where he received the anti-addiction drug Vivitrol.

The Vivitrol injection caused Gonzalez to crash, Genis argued.

Genis also faults Los Osos doctor Kenneth Starr for administering the injection without drug testing Gonzales beforehand, according to a defense investigative report. Genis says Gonzales took drugs about 13 hours prior to the crash, and doctors are not supposed to administer the anti-addiction drug that soon after a patient uses the addictive substance.

Genis did say, though, that Gonzales should not have been driving at the time.


Here is what I imagine the conversation to be in the room with Dr and patient:

Doctor: Vivitrol is a dangerous medication when taken by someone who is also using alcohol and opioids. Have you used any opioid medications in the last 7-10 days?

Patient: No. I want to get clean and sober. Totally. I haven’t used in like 2 weeks. It’s been hard.

Doctor: This specific version of medication is given IV, because you have a propensity to like IV heroin, so this will make it very difficult to feel the euphoria you would typically feel when injecting heroin after you receive this medication.

Patient: Stares blankly.

Doctor: This means you should not try and use heroin, alcohol, or opioids. You won’t feel high.

Patient: Oh. (Thinks for a moment..) Hey, is this like that medicine they give in the ER when you almost OD? It like takes away your high and you wake up?

Doctor: (looks at patient and has a very subtle eye twitch) No. You just can’t get high from the time I inject you until you come in for your next dose.

Patient: ok. (is secretly glad he got high “one more time” before coming here. This seems rough)

Yes, I know. It’s my imagination. But it is based on experience. I am not judging the addiction struggle. I am judging his decision to get high and then drive. The “come down” on meth and heroin seems crappy to me. I don’t see how vomiting then sleeping is fun for the heroin addict, or being paranoid, irritable, then after 3 days (12 hours for heroin guy) passing out is fun.

The ONLY reason I am betting this guy admitted to anything is because they drug tested him in the ER. He probably denied any use initially, then when faced with drug tests and very stern discussions with the doctor that specialized testing COULD be done to check that it was meth, heroin and NOT his “medications” that made him kill an innocent human being in his car.

I am so very sorry for the victim’s family.

I am so very sorry if this young man had loving parents who were sending him to that doctor in Los Osos in a desperate attempt to help him get sober. To be a parent in this situation must be very distressing and overwhelming.

This young man must face the consequences of this actions. Fully. Someone is dead because of his choice.