A woman who killed a tow truck driver while driving under the influence in 2001 was sentenced yesterday to six years in prison for DUI. This is the second time 55-year-old Denise Gafner Mendoza from Paso Robles has been convicted of driving under the influence since she hit 20-year-old Tanner Rothfleisch as he tried to hitch a stalled car on the Cuesta Grade.
After she was sentenced to seven years in prison for killing Rothfleisch, she was sentenced to a year in jail in 2008 for DUI. She already had a DUI conviction two years before the accident. Each conviction involved driving while under the influence of prescription drugs. Last September, Mendoza was driving on Highway 101 in Atascadero when a CHP officer pulled her over for swerving. The officer said her speech was slow and slurred and had droopy eyelids. Every incident has been the result of Mendoza being under the influence of prescription drugs, which she says she has been taking since she was 13 for a kidney stone disease. In addition to heading back to prison, Mendoza also had license revoked for 10 years.