Tanya Jones-Watkins was driving after taking Ambien
(Woodland, CA) - May 20, 2016 - Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig announced that on May 19, 2016, a Yolo County jury convicted 54-year-old Tanya Jones-Watkins of West Sacramento of driving under the influence of a drug, Ambien.
On the evening of May 5, 2015, Jones-Watkins left a restaurant in North Sacramento. Immediately before leaving she took a tablet of Ambien, so that she would be tired by the time she got to her home to West Sacramento. The medication began taking effect while Jones-Watkins was driving on I-80, near Jefferson Blvd. As Jones-Watkins approached the Harbor Blvd. exit, she fell asleep and her car drifted to the right. Her car hit a sign, careened into a drainage ditch, came back out of the ditch, hit another sign, rolled, and then collided with a guard rail. A test of Jones-Watkins’ blood found 0.01 mg/L of Zolpidem, which is the active ingredient in Ambien.
The jury deliberated for approximately an hour and fifteen minutes before returning a guilty verdict on the sole count: driving under the influence of a drug. On May 20, 2016, the Honorable Stephen L. Mock sentenced Jones-Watkins to 48 hours in jail, a $3,179 fine, 3 years of probation, an alcohol education class, and other DUI related probation terms.
District Attorney Jeff Reisig said “This is another example of how driving on prescription drugs is no less dangerous than driving while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.” Reisig continued, “We are fortunate nobody was seriously injured or killed and all drivers was must be aware about the dangers of driving while under the influence of prescription drugs.”