'Zombie Walk' driver gives CBS News 8 his side of the story - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

'Zombie Walk' driver gives CBS News 8 his side of the story

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - For the first time since being charged with felony reckless driving, the man behind the wheel in an infamous Zombie Walk collision video is talking to CBS News 8.

Matthew Pocci is deaf, but with the help of a translator, he told his side of the story. He's accused of deliberately plowing into a crowd of people, but he says he had no choice.

Pocci says he has seen the videos posted on YouTube, and he is still traumatized by what happened to him, his fiancee and family last July in the Gaslamp Quarter.

"I started feeling this pounding on the car. Everyone was surrounding our car and pounding on the car all around the door, on the trunk. Then we had the two men on the hood that were sitting there. There was pandemonium, we were really upset. We were really, really scared," he said.

The 47-year old hearing-impaired driver, whose fiancee is also deaf, says he had no choice but to step on the gas and plow through a crowd of pedestrians during the annual Comic-Con Zombie Walk downtown.

"As soon as I started to inch forward that's when they punched my windshield and totally cracked it, and that's when I was so scared for my family's safety, people trying to enter our car, all over our car," Pocci said.

Pocci admits that a motorcycle cop initially told him to stay put, so he turned off his engine, with traffic backing up behind him. But as the parade ended, he says there were no officers in sight to control the crowd.

"That Zombie Walk started to thin out and pedestrians and civilians started crossing the street, because they were no longer dressed in zombie clothing," he said.

Pocci says he rolled down his window to ask a man in a Spiderman shirt what was going on.

"I asked him, "Is it over? What's going on?' and he started laughing and pointed to my car. I think he meant stay there, he just pointed, couldn't hear what he said," he said.

He says a woman in a floral shirt then gestured for him to move forward, but as he started honking his horn, creeping toward the crowd, things became chaotic.

"That's when I felt like I really felt like the energy of the crowd was getting way out of control," he said. "People started running, someone threw beer at us, and so I decided to just go."

As Pocci drove through the crowd, his car hit a woman and broke her arm.

"I felt completely horrible that she had accidentally been hit," he said.

Now seven months later, Pocci has been charged with felony reckless driving.

"I was completely shocked, really flabbergasted," he said.

The criminal charge was not filed until after he filed a civil claim for damages against the city.

"We need to have permits for that kind of thing. Whether it's a small parade or large event, there needs to be something in action, some kind of control, some traffic control," Pocci said.

Pocci was actually volunteering at Comic-Con that day in a booth to help give directions to the hearing-impaired. His fiancée, her 9-year-old son and his fiancee's sister, who is also deaf, were also in the car that day.

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