Driver on Prescription Drugs Causes Accident; Teen Hospitalized

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Driving under the influence isn't just a term for drinking and driving.

A Turlock driver under the influence of prescription medication caused a major collision Tuesday, sending a child to the hospital – and earning a felony DUI charge for the driver.

The incident occurred Tuesday afternoon at about 12:30 p.m., when Deborah Ferreira, 56, slammed into the back of a car occupied by the son of Turlock resident Stan Van Winkle and his girlfriend. Witnesses say Ferreria was traveling at about 45 miles-per-hour when the impact occurred, near the intersection of Countryside Drive and Tuolumne Road.

Ferreria then drove north to Home Depot, where a witness to the collision followed her. Turlock Police later determined Ferreira was under the influence of prescription medication at the time of the accident.

Van Winkle’s son was taken to Doctors Medical Center and held overnight for observation due to possible neurological damage. The girlfriend, who owned and was driving the car, was also injured.

Van Winkle's son is now home recovering.

“Its frustrating these are just kids trying to do the right thing and this happens,” Van Winkle said. “Its not an accident when you do something like that – she should know better than that but she had no clue what she was doing. Those driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs are pathetic individuals.”

Turlock Police Sgt. Stephen Webb indicated that with the general increase in use of prescription medications that DUIs related to the effects of prescription drugs have increased in recent years.

A driver can be arrested for a driving under the influence of any prescription medicine that impairs their ability to drive.

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