In a case that could test the limits of the law and personal responsibility, a Bear Valley Springs man faces felony charges in a deadly crash prosecutors blame on his uncontrolled diabetes.
Prosecutors charged Leonard Campos, 59, with manslaughter and reckless driving.
Campos could have done more to control his diabetes that caused him to slip in a semi-conscious state and crash at the intersection of Cummings Valley Road and in August 2009, killing 64-year-old Peggy Mikkelsen, prosecutors allege.
Mikkelsen was pulling weeds in her yard, and her distraught husband was the first discover her beneath a trailer that flipped off of Campos’ work truck.
“It was a total, total accident,” Campos said in a jailhouse interview. “I check myself (my blood sugar) all of the time and never, ever have I been through something like this.”
The Bear Valley Police Department reported Campos’ blood sugar level was in the low 40s following the wreck. An 18-year-old man, who Campos says assisted him in his construction and masonry work, also was injured.
“We had the suspicion that there might be more to this that may indicate negligence was involved,” explained Bear Valley Police Sgt. David Watts. “This is a unique case with very specific evidence. The reason it took so long to get to this point is that we wanted to get it right.”
Bear Valley Police also allege Campos admitted to being sick with diabetes prior to the collision, ignored his diabetic alarms, then disregarded his passenger’s demands to pull over and stop the vehicle.
“As far as I am concerned, I was unconscious the whole time, because I don’t remember any of that,” Campos said of the allegations.
Less than five minutes before the crash, Campos says he was at a store, buying beer and ice.
He denies drinking any of the beer before the crash. But he says he’s been questioned why he didn’t buy something sugary that might have given him a needed boost.
“If I had felt anything, I would have been the first one to say throw in a candy bar and a soda,” Campos said.” I didn’t feel anything.”
Mikkelsen was eulogized at her funeral as a gentle woman who loved animals, the Tehachapi News reported.
She ran Ultimate Pet Sitters, which had amassed about 100 clients, according to the paper.
Campos recalled having seen and spoken with Mikkelsen just hours before the crash.
“That woman was in my house earlier that day,” he said. “My wife and I were going on vacation, and she was going to baby sit our pets.”
Hours later their lives would collide again.
“If you asked me, ‘If i had it to do over again, would I have done anything different,’ I would say probably not because I didn’t feel anything.
Campos is set to enter a plea to the charges against him Thursday afternoon.
High Plains Broadcasting LLC.