The driver who died in a two-vehicle collision involving the wife of 24th Congressional District candidate Abel Maldonado in Santa Maria in July was under the influence of methamphetamine at the time of the crash, the California Highway Patrol said Friday.
CHP public information officer Chuck Jones told Noozhawk that 32-year-old Joseph Scott Scheurn of Santa Maria tested positive for a “large amount — well in excess of the reportable amount” — of the illegal drug.
He said no other drugs nor alcohol were found in Scheurn’s system, according to toxicology results.
Jones also said that investigators determined that the brakes on Scheurn’s vehicle had not been maintained properly.
“In inspecting his brakes we know that they were definitely not maintained properly, but there’s no way to say whether they were or were not working at the time of the crash,” Jones said.
According to the CHP, Scheurn was driving a 1985 Honda Accord northbound on Dominion Road shortly after 4 p.m. July 23 when he failed to yield the right of way at the intersection with Foxen Canyon Road, colliding with a 2008 Cadillac Escalade driven by 45-year-old Laura Maldonado of Santa Maria, who was headed eastbound on Foxen Canyon. The couple’s teenage son, Nicholas, was a passenger in the vehicle.
The front of the Cadillac collided with the left side of the Honda, with both vehicles coming to rest in an irrigation canal on the north side of Foxen Canyon Road, according to CHP.
Scheurn died at the scene.
Maldonado campaign communications director Kurt Bardella told Noozhawk then that Laura and Nicholas Maldonado sustained minor injuries. They were taken to Marian Medical Center as a precaution and released that same evening.
“The Maldonado family is incredibly grateful for the overwhelming support they have received from friends and family,” he said Friday.