Jacqueline Ochoa Torres was driving after taking Xanex and Methadone
(Woodland, CA) - September 22, 2016 - Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig announced that on September 21, 2016, Jacqueline Ochoa Torres, 27, a Woodland resident, plead no contest to vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and driving under the influence of a drug causing death or great bodily injury. Ochoa Torres had been driving under the combined influence of Xanex and Methadone.
In the late afternoon of October 2, 2015, Ochoa Torres was driving to Davis from Sacramento. Shortly before driving, Ochoa Torres visited a methadone clinic. After visiting the clinic she took twice her normal methadone dosage, as well as Xanex, which was not prescribed to her. As Ochoa Torres was driving along Highway 80, another driver noticed that Ochoa Torres was driving erratically. Two drivers witnessed Ochoa Torres drift onto the shoulder of the highway, where she collided with a pedestrian and a stopped tractor trailer, at full speed.
Giuseppe Santuccio, a San Mateo resident, was the driver of the tractor trailer. He had stopped along Highway 80 to adjust the load on the trailer. Mr. Santuccio sustained severe injuries as a result of the collision and was pronounced dead at the scene.
A test of Ochoa Torres' blood found 499 ng/mL of methadone and 79 ng/mL of alprazolam, which is the active ingredient in Xanex.
The case had been scheduled for a jury trial, which was to begin on October 26, 2016. On September 21, 2016, appearing before Judge Daniel P. Maguire, Ochoa Torres entered a no contest plea to all charges. Those charges included vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence of drugs causing injury, and a special enhancement for infliction of great bodily injury.
District Attorney Jeff Reisig said, "This case is an absolute tragedy. As a result of the Defendant's choices, Mr. Santuccio's family has lost their loving father and much loved son." Reisig continued, “This is another example of how driving on prescription drugs is just as dangerous as driving while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.”
Judge Maguire will sentence Ochoa Torres on November 3, 2016. Following the terms of her plea agreement, she will be sentenced to four years and four months in state prison. She will not be eligible for parole until she has completed 85% of her sentence. Ochoa Torres' conviction also counts as a strike offense.