Prescription Opiods Lead To Prison Sentence for DUI Rider


You do not have to be under the influence of alcohol or an illegal drug to be charged with DUI. You can be under the influence of a legally prescribed medication and be charged with driving under the influence. If the medication affects your ability to drive at all, you should not drive while taking it. The Fresno Bee reports on a woman facing 5 and a half years in prison for a DUI where she was under the influence of opioids.

Kenneth and Jeannine Balderrama, both of Fresno, were riding on board their Harley Davidson motorcycle. They were on their way to join their children on a camping trip when they were struck by Denise Lago, 40, of Auberry. The incident occurred on June 5, 2015.

Lago, who was driving south on Auberry Road in a Chevy pickup truck when she crossed the center line trying to negotiate a curve and struck a Toyota Highlander first and then the Harley Davidson motorcycle.

The couple on the Harley Davidson motorcycle were killed in the accident. Authorities reported that Lago’s speech was slurred and she was lethargic. Later, it came to light that she was under the influence of a depressant and opioids, which she had been prescribed for back pain.

Although Lago had no criminal record, the severity of the accident led to the recommendation of a prison sentence. Lago pleaded guilty last Friday to two counts of vehicular manslaughter and one count of driving under the influence causing injury.  

She will spend nearly five-and-a-half years in prison.

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