The man accused killing a Ph.D. student with his car and fleeing the scene had his first court appearance Monday.
Christopher Stockmeyer, 41, pleaded not guilty to four felony charges, including gross vehicular manslaughter, DUI, driving with a measurable blood alcohol causing injury and hit and run.
The judge set Stockmeyer’s bail at $250,000, agreeing with prosecutors that he is a danger to the community.
According to prosecutors, Stockmeyer had been drinking with co-workers at the Beachside Grill in Encinitas before getting behind the wheel on March 28. Authorities say he was speeding down Coast Boulevard in Del Mar when he fatally struck 27-year-old Rachel Morrison.
In court, prosecutors showed photos of the damage to Stockmeyer’s car. Morrison’s body broke the windshield of the Audi A4 and caused major front end damage.
Morrison, who was crossing in the crosswalk with a friend, was thrown 120 feet into nearby bushes.
Police tracked down Stockmeyer by his license plate left at the scene. Officers said he smelled of alcohol. When asked if he had hit someone, Stockmeyer reportedly told officers he didn’t remember and just wanted to go home and sleep.
As the 41-year-old engineer and father was led away in handcuffs, Stockmeyer said to his wife and sister, “Give my love to the boys.”
Nearly two dozen of Morrison’s friends packed the Vista courtroom. They wore pink roses in honor of the Ph.D. student who was studying at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography.
They also shared a statement written by the Morrison family.
“She was a scholar, an athlete and was in training for the Boston Marathon. She was planning to run with her father this year,” friend Gareth Williams said. “Her mother and father say, quote, ‘Our lives have been destroyed.’”
The defendant’s sister also read a statement.
“My brother and all of our family offer our deepest condolences to the friends and family of Rachel Morrison,” Jennifer Dinofia said through tears. “She was an incredible young lady with a wonderful future ahead of her, and it's a terrible loss. We are so, so very sorry.”
If convicted, Stockmeyer faces 15 years in prison.