The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has filed two counts of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter against a driver whose unintentional overdose of insulin led to a crash, that killed a young couple.
The charges are a result of a crash that occurred on July 10, 2006, when 54-year old John Mayfield exited northbound Highway 280 at the 11th Street off-ramp in San Jose.
He allegedly continued driving at freeway speed, and flipped his Pacific Gas & Electric Co. truck, according to police.
Mayfield’s truck landed on its side and slammed into another truck.
Mary Bernstein and Robert Conway, who were stopped at a traffic light, were both killed.
In June, a Santa Clara County judge dismissed a grand jury indictment against Mayfield. At the time, Mayfield was facing two counts of felony gross vehicular manslaughter and one count of driving under the influence and causing injury.
"After the indictment was dismissed, we looked at the basis for the court's decision. We examined other cases, and became convinced that the charge that fits this crime is misdemeanor manslaughter," Assistant District Attorney David Tomkins said.
"We're alleging the fact he drove while inadvertently giving himself an overdose of insulin was negligent," added Tomkins.
The standard for the previously filed felony charges was gross negligence. For misdemeanor manslaughter, the requirement is ordinary negligence.
According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, about 3,000 of the state’s 22 million drivers had their license restricted or revoked because of high insulin intake in 2004 and 2005.
No arraignment date has been set. Mayfield faces up to two years in county jail on the charges.
"The families of the victims are obviously grief stricken," Tomkins said. "If there was something we could file, they would want us to do that. We believe we have the correct charges in the case.''