SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A motorist who allegedly fled the scene after hitting a female transient in the middle of Interstate 5 near downtown San Diego pleaded not guilty Thursday to a charge of felony hit-and-run causing death.
Deputy District Attorney Lucy Yturralde said Sandro Garcia struck the woman on the freeway shortly after midnight on June 19, then drove to his aunt's home and drank alcohol.
The prosecutor said Garcia waited an hour before calling police.
Yturralde said the impact from the crash was significant, leaving Garcia's car with a cracked windshield and front-end damage.
Garcia's attorney said his client -- a West Point graduate and Iraq war veteran -- didn't have a cellphone when the accident occurred, so he drove to his aunt's house nearby before calling police.
Garcia, 32, was arrested about 3:30 a.m. and booked into jail, but later posted $50,000 bail.
Judge David Szumowski ordered the defendant not to drive and refrain from alcohol during the duration of the case.
A readiness conference was set for Aug. 7 and a preliminary hearing for Aug. 28.
Garcia faces seven years in state prison if convicted, Yturralde said.
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