Prosecutors in Santa Clara County, California are determined to hold a diabetic driver accountable for a crash that caused the deaths of a young couple from the personal injuries they sustained. They have again filed charges against the PG&E worker, this time as a misdemeanor instead of a felony.
In June, charges of felony manslaughter were thrown out by a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge on the grounds that not enough evidence had been presented to indict John Mayfield for the deaths of 20-year-old college students Mary Bernstein and Robert Conway in July 2006.
Mayfield is now faced with two misdemeanor counts of vehicular manslaughter. The charges carry a maximum sentence of one year in county jail for each count, though it is more common for the sentence to be community service. In contrast, the felony charges would have carried a maximum penalty of about 12 years in state prison.
The prosecution reviewed similar cases in California and came to the decision that Mayfield’s unintentional insulin overdose fits more closely with ordinary negligence than gross negligence, according to Assistant District Attorney David Tomkins.
Bernstein’s mother, Lisa Bernstein, expressed relief that the criminal case is nearing a resolution. She said she “would have liked them to throw the book at (Mayfield)” in order to send the message to diabetics that they should test their blood sugar before driving, but she was glad the end was near.