Today, October 11, 2013, a Tuolumne County jury convicted Blake Michael Wright of a felony violation of Vehicle Code section 23513(a), Driving Under the Influence of Drugs Causing Injury. They also found that Mr. Wright caused great bodily injury to another person, an enhancement to the DUI charge. The conviction stems from a head-on collision that occurred on April 1, 2012 on Highway 108, behind Walmart. Mr. Wright was operating his 2003 Saturn with methadone, hydrocodone, methamphetamine and an anti-depressant drug in his system when he allowed his vehicle to leave his lane sideswiping a 1997 VW Jetta traveling in the opposite direction, driven by a 35 year old Jamestown woman. Within seconds Mr. Wright allowed his vehicle to go entirely in the oncoming lane whereupon it collided head-on with a 2008 Toyota Camry occupied by a Jamestown couple. Their car went airborne and landed on its roof. Within minutes a California Highway Patrol officer spoke with Mr. Wright who said he had just taken Vicodin and methadone, and that officer noted signs of narcotic intoxication. Both Mr. Wright and the driver of the other vehicle, Janet Mingo of Jamestown, suffered serious injuries and were flown to valley hospitals. At the time of the offense Mr. Wright was pending sentencing in another Tuolumne County Superior Court case for transportation of heroin and driving-under-the-influence of drugs and had previously pled guilty in a separate case to another driving-under-the-influence case occurring in early 2012. Mr. Wright faces a possible maximum sentence of 8 years in state prison on this case, with the possibility of an additional 16 months prison for his drug case. The Court indicated the defendant would be placed on electronic monitoring while awaiting sentence however he was remanded to custody upon testing positive for methamphetamine. The defendant is scheduled to be sentenced on November 12, 2013 at 1:30 in Superior Court Department 2.
The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Eric Hovatter.