Trial Ordered For Drifter Accused of Fatally Striking Bicyclist in Alpine - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Trial Ordered For Drifter Accused of Fatally Striking Bicyclist in Alpine

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An unemployed drifter with a history of drunken driving convictions was ordered today to stand trial on vehicular manslaughter and DUI charges stemming from a hit-and-run crash that killed a bicyclist in Alpine.

Travis Chris Weber, 44, exhibited behavior last Dec. 2 "that shows indifference to the safety of others," Judge Lantz Lewis said at the conclusion of the defendant's daylong preliminary hearing at the El Cajon courthouse.

The judge ordered Weber to stand trial on charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and hit-and-run causing death, along with a charge related to a 1985 felony DUI conviction. Lewis dismissed two counts related to the defendant allegedly driving drunk when he was arrested two days after the fatal collision.

The crash killed Edward Costa, a 30-year-old self-employed construction worker and father of two.

California Highway Patrol Officer Michael Edwards testified that when he searched a silver Ford F-150 belonging to Weber, he found three empty half-pint bottles of vodka -- of three different brands -- in the cab and seven empty cans of beer in the bed of the vehicle.

Edwards said he questioned Weber the night he was arrested outside an Alpine bar. The defendant told him he had been on a drinking binge for five days and woke up in Campo hours after the collision and had no idea how he got there, the officer said.

"He related he did not know he had struck Edward Costa," Edwards testified.

San Diego County sheriff's Sgt. Joseph Sprecco testified that people who attended a memorial gathering of Costa's friends and family at the crash site spotted the pickup truck in the parking lot of a bar across the street.

"The damage to the vehicle was consistent with striking a bicycle and a person," Sprecco said.

CHP Officer Sid Turner said green paint from the bicycle was found on the bumper of the truck, and debris found at the scene -- specifically a broken headlight -- matched what remained on the truck.

A woman testified that Weber rear-ended her about 20 minutes before the fatal collision, and that he became angry and screamed at her while they were exchanging information.

Edwards said a witness told him he saw Weber drive away quickly from the fender-bender. The witness said the pickup went into the opposing traffic lanes and then over-corrected to the embankment.

The defendant was ordered to return to court Feb. 4 to receive a trial date. He faces at least 20 years to life in prison if convicted.

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