Drugged man who killed Los Osos teen pleads no contest

January 31, 2017
Alexander Gonzales

Alexander Gonzales

A 24-year-old Paso Robles man pleaded no contest earlier this month to a single felony count of vehicular manslaughter in the death of a Los Osos teen. Alexander Paul Gonzales allegedly hit and killed the teen just minutes after receiving a drug injection to treat his heroin addiction. [Tribune]

Gonzales now faces a maximum sentence of six years in prison for causing the death of Jackson Garland, 18. Prosecutors dropped a charge of felony driving under the influence of drugs causing great bodily injury when Gonzales pleaded no contest on Jan. 18.

On June 18, 2014, Gonzales was driving in the wrong lane on South Bay Boulevard in Los Osos when he hit and killed Garland. Gonzales was reportedly speeding and weaving prior to slamming into Garland’s vehicle.

Gonzales reportedly admitted to being both a heroin and methamphetamine addict. He also admitted to taking the two drugs the day of the crash, though the prosecution and defense disputed whether Gonzales used the drugs one hour or 13 hours prior to the fatal accident.

A wrongful death lawsuit filed by Garland’s family alleges Dr. Kenneth Starr, who operates Starr Addiction Medicine Group, administered a Vivitrol injection to Gonzales about 17 minutes before the crash. Gonzales left Starr’s office approximately 10 minutes before the collision, according to the suit.

Attorney Darryl Genis, who previously represented Gonzales, argued the Vivitrol interacted with the heroin in Gonzales’ blood and caused him to pass out at the wheel.

The Garlands’ lawsuit names Gonzalez, as well as Gonzales’ parents and Starr.

Garland was born in Baltimore and grew up in Los Osos. He was working at a Morro Bay pizzeria at the time of his death.

Gonzales’ sentencing is scheduled for March 15.

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” Often it is because they really don’t have enough judgment to recognize and comprehend how bad the ill-effects of some of the drugs are.” That’s correct. And by the time they do realize it, it’s too late because they are physically addicted not to mention mentally. I have a relative who I am sure would love to get off heroin. She has moments of sobriety but then goes right back to the one thing that has practically ruined and almost taken her life.

How can Garland’s parents sue the parents of a 24 year old? Gonzales’ parents shouldn’t be liable for him, he’s an adult. Where do we draw the line with this?

if i had to guess i’d say the parents owned the car their son was driving.

I am constantly amazed that people continue to start using terribly addictive drugs. The dangers of meth and heroin are well publicized and should be common knowledge. Why flirt with this stuff? We need to treat this problem as a public health issue. The “War on Drugs” started by President Nixon has been a $3 trillion dollar failure. We need to build rehab facilities and half-way houses instead of spending huge sums of money on cops, courts, and prisons.

I agree that the “War on Drugs” approach is not working and never did work well and that a shift to rehab and other treatment-oriented approaches would work better (although never perfectly).

As far as why people start goes, there is not one single reason. Young people will often do it as an act of rebellion. Sometimes this is against the BS propaganda that is sometimes used (like the original anti-marijuana campaigns). Sometimes it is a way of lashing out at the hypocrisy of adults who use alcohol to excess or abuse prescription drugs to get high while telling the kids, “Just say No!” Sometimes it involves trusting their “friends” recommendations more than the warnings from adults. Often it is because they really don’t have enough judgment to recognize and comprehend how bad the ill-effects of some of the drugs are.

Some people (young or old) get hooked trying to cope with pain — either physical or psychological. They may move on to illegal stuff to maintain the high if the legal prescriptions end.

Six years (maximum) is not enough in my opinion. This person destroyed many lives with his actions.

Looks like a Huge wrongful death Malpractice insurance payout is coming folks.