Carlsbad resident John Sudac Jr., 27, appeared in a Vista courtroom to face charges of felony manslaughter, felony hit-and-run and possession of marijuana.
A witness said a car identical to the one driven by an accused hit-and-run driver was seen driving erratically just moments before a crash that killed a pregnant woman and her unborn child. A CHP officer said his search of the suspect vehicle turned up marijuana and a marijuana drug pipe.
That testimony was presented Wednesday at a preliminary hearing for John Francis Sudac, a Carlsbad man who surrendered to authorities after he was named as a suspect in the hit-and-run accident on January 4.
Sudac crossed multiple lanes traveling northbound on Interstate-5 at 1:00 am and hit the back of a Ford Explorer, causing it to roll over multiple times, according to CHP officers. Yine Gonzalez, 24, of Tijuana was partially ejected from the vehicle. Several off-duty law enforcement officers and Marines stopped to try and extricate Gonzalez from the SUV. She and the unborn child died as a result of the accident.
Witness Lacreisha Wells testified she saw Sudac's vehicle "swerving" and driving recklessly before the crash, according to the North County Times.
Another witness testified that he helped pull Sudac's passenger to safety from Sudac's car, and then asked Sudac if he was the driver of that car. The witness said Sudac confirmed he was driving, at which point the witness said he told Sudac to wait at the scene until CHP officers arrived.
Solomon Huss, an officer with the Los Angeles Police Department, testified he saw Sudac climb out of his car and yell, "My friend is still inside," according to the paper. Huss also told prosecutors he pulled an unconscious, bleeding man who was "crumpled on the floor board," according to the paper.
Sudac allegedly fled the scene. He later turned himself in.
No cameras were allowed in the courtroom Wednesday, because of a ruling by the judge.
At an earlier hearing, Deputy District Attorney Natalie Villaflor argued that Sudac destroyed evidence while out on bail. She claimed Sudac tried to shred a Chargers ticket stub that matched a parking stub on the vehicle left at the scene. Investigators say they found numerous stubs from older games on display in Sudac's home.
Sudac pleaded not guilty to charges of gross vehicular manslaughter, hit-and-run causing death, and misdemeanor marijuana possession. Judge Runston Maino left bail at the present amount - $200,000. He added that Sudac can't drive, can't use alcohol or drugs and must allow searches of his personal property at any time.