BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The driver of a car that crashed into a traffic signal pole, killing a passenger, admitted to using heroin earlier that day also and going to a clinic where he was given methadone, according to a court filing.
The driver, who has not been charged with a crime in the May 16 crash, displayed symptoms of being under the influence of a drug, police said in a search warrant filed this week in Superior Court.
BPD spokesman Sgt. Nathan McCauley said the case was submitted to the District Attorney’s office but sent back to detectives for further investigation.
The man, whose name KGET is withholding since he has not been charged, had constricted pupils, delayed response and heavily slurred speech when police interviewed him, the filing says.
He told police he couldn’t remember what happened after leaving a clinic where he said he was given 80 milligrams of methadone. He said he lost his memory from the time he left the clinic until the crash.
His passenger, Josefa Castanon Garcia, 66, died at the scene of the 4:12 p.m. crash at White Lane and Old River Road.
The warrant said police are seeking records from the clinic to determine how much methadone the man was given and whether he was advised not to drive. Methadone is used to help treat a person’s addiction to heroin or other painkillers.
The clinic manager, for confidentiality reasons, said she could not confirm the man had been there. Speaking generally, she said the clinic provides a therapeutic dose of methadone so a patient doesn’t feel the physical need for opioids.
A therapeutic dose doesn’t provide a high, the clinic manager said, or make a person drowsy, or lead to other symptoms where it would be unsafe to operate a motor vehicle.
She said all patients are educated on possible side effects and the dangers of taking methadone in combination with other medications.