SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A deaf motorist charged with felony reckless driving for allegedly driving through a crowd at the "Zombie Walk" parade during last year's Comic-Con convention, seriously injuring one woman, has been ordered to stand trial.
In court Thursday, the defense argued that Matthew Pocci feared for his family's safety. However, the prosecution said Pocci plowed through the crowd out of anger.
Pocci, a driver who is hard of hearing, watched as three people testified about what happened during last summer's Comic-Con convention. Police said he drove into a crowd at a Zombie Walk at Island Avenue and 2nd Avenue.
Also waiting for the event to dissipate were a pedicab and another car. The pedicab driver testified Wednesday, saying Pocci was angry and waving his arms.
The prosecution argued that Pocci was frustrated and aggressive and became impatient after waiting for 10 minutes, with his family in the car. The prosecution added that he plowed into the crowd at about five miles an hour even though he could read people's lips, telling him to wait as police guided the pedestrians.
However, Pocci's defense said that's not what happened. They claimed he tried to drive through an opening in the crowd and never intended to hurt anyone, adding that he became emotional when someone sat on his car and another punched the windshield near his face.
After examining YouTube video from witnesses, a San Diego police officer believed Pocci was honking and had his arm hanging out of the driver's side window. He describes what he saw in the video:
"My opinion is that the tire, from the 2001 Honda Accord front wheel drive, is now going over the victim Campbell's arm and loses traction as it hits the roadway surface," said San Diego Police Officer Daniel Wall.
One officer interviewed Pocci in July 2014 using sign language. This is what he remembered from that day:
"After he heard the thump and the hit that's when things started getting ugly for him. He became afraid and drove through the line of people and was afraid he or his family would be attacked inside the vehicle or pulled from their vehicle,” continued San Diego Police Officer Jeffrey Gross.
In an online interview, Pocci said someone even opened the rear door and he was scared for himself, his girlfriend and a nine-year-old boy in the car.
Pocci faces three years behind bars if convicted of felony reckless driving causing great bodily injury. He'll be back in court June 24 for arraignment.