A former 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 — his second auto accident of the evening, authorities said.
Allan James Waters, 36, of Laguna Niguel is accused of driving under the influence of the prescription drugs zolpidem and hydrocodone. Waters was off-duty at the time of the accident and is no longer with the department.
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 later, 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.
Waters then swerved into another car and smashed into the vehicle carrying the woman, authorities said. She sustained a back injury and later underwent surgery, the district attorney's office said.
Assistant Sheriff Mike James said deputies did not detain Waters after the first accident because he showed no "objective signs of intoxication" when he was questioned.
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.
Waters is 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.