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Orange County sheriff's deputy charged with DUI and injuring woman, 78 [Updated]

June 9, 2010 |  7:01 pm
An off-duty Orange County sheriff's deputy was arrested and charged Wednesday with injuring a 78-year-old woman in a car crash while driving under the influence of prescription drugs, authorities said.

Allan James Waters, 36, a Laguna Niguel resident, was charged with one felony count of driving under the influence causing bodily injury and two felony counts of selling a substance in lieu of cocaine, with a sentencing enhancement for causing great bodily injury, the Orange County district attorney's office said. Waters is accused of being impaired while driving under the influence of prescription drugs zolpidem and hydrocodone.

The incident began when Waters allegedly smashed into a vehicle in front of him that had stopped for a red light about 4:45 p.m. March 1 on Street of the Golden Lantern in Dana Point, prosecutors said.

Deputies from the Orange County Sheriff's Department responded and released Waters and the other driver after taking a report. The deputies were aware that Waters was a deputy, according to the district attorney's office.

About seven minutes after he was released, Waters allegedly began driving erratically on Golden Lantern and almost crashed into a passing motorist. Multiple drivers called 911 to report his driving, the district attorney's office said.

As he continued on, Waters swerved into another car and smashed into the vehicle carrying the woman. She sustained an injury to her back and later underwent surgery, the district attorney's office said.

It was unclear Wednesday afternoon why the deputies did not detain Waters after the first accident.

[Updated at 8:15 p.m.: Assistant Sheriff Mike James said that Waters is no longer employed by the department and that he showed no "objective signs of intoxication" when he was initially questioned by deputies after the first crash.]

Deputies responding to the accident involving the woman called the California Highway Patrol. Waters allegedly showed signs of drug intoxication, including slurred speech, a lack of balance and trouble following directions.

As investigators launched their case, they began examining suspected drug-related activity by Waters.

Prosecutors said he met a friend after arranging to receive the prescription drugs Opana and OxyContin in exchange for money and cocaine. Waters is accused of providing the friend with a fake white powdery substance under the pretense that it was cocaine, according to the district attorney's office.

-- Robert J. Lopez