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Grant to aid prosecution in drunken driving cases

POSTED February 7, 2012 10:47 p.m.

The Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office was awarded a one-year grant from the Office of Traffic Safety aimed at preventing deaths and injuries on the roadways and holding those at fault accountable.

The $344,055 grant will fund two deputy district attorneys to prosecute felony and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter cases involving drugs or alcohol, felony driving under the influence and causing great bodily injury cases, as well as felony and misdemeanor driving under the influence cases. Specific attention will be given to those cases in which the driver is under the influence of drugs — illegal or prescription.

In 2010, 791 people throughout California died in roadway crashes that involved a driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher. Stanislaus County saw 394 killed and injured. In Stanislaus County in 2009, the District Attorney’s Office prosecuted over 100 cases with alcohol involved collisions in which victims were injured; two of those were fatalities. Stanislaus County ranked 12th highest in the state for alcohol involved collisions compared by daily vehicle miles traveled.

“There’s no such thing as ‘just a DUI,’” stated District Attorney Birgit Fladager. “While the majority of DUI incidents may not result in actual injury to another person, there’s no predicting which one will. There has been a significant rise in the number of people abusing prescription medication. Driving under the influence of drugs, prescribed or otherwise, can be just as deadly as driving under the influence of alcohol. This message needs to be heard loud and clear.”

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