Anthony Guarino's case just got a little more complicated. After the prosecution argued that Guarino chose to drink and drive thus resulting in the fatal car accident that killed a Rancho Bernardo man, Guarino's attorney states the cause is not drunk driving but sleep apnea. The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (a subsidiary of the National Institutes of Health) state that sleep apnea "is a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. Sleep apnea is one of the leading causes of excessive daytime sleepiness."
Guarino was estimated by Police to be driving between 50-60 miles per hour when his car hit Marc William Durham's Toyota Corolla initiating a chain-reaction collision that involved four other cars, injuring five people. Defense Attorney Brad Patton related that Guarino was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea last year and that a side effect of sleep apnea is "micro sleep, when a person loses consciousness."It was Guarino's intention to make a left turn to go home but went into micro-sleep therefore never applied his brakes and drifted into the turn lane.
Patton told the jury that charging Guarino with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated may not be appropriate. Guarino did admit that he was driving under the influence of alcohol that night and that it affected his driving. Guarino is also charged with DUI causing injury.
What is Sleep Apnea?, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute: Diseases and Conditions Index, Revised August 2010