Driver in Comic Con Zombie Walk Crash Pleads Not Guilty

The deaf man whose car struck a pedestrian during a "zombie walk" near Comic Con last July pleaded not guilty to a charge of felony reckless driving resulting in serious injuries.

In court, Deputy District Attorney Anthony Campagna said Matthew O. Pocci Jr. initially turned off his engine when he saw the crowd approach. Several minutes later, he became frustrated, Campagna said, and honked his horn and drove forward into the crowd. 

Pocci's attorney, Ashby Sorensen, called the claims false. 

"Absolutely false! The prosecutor has never talked to myclient to make that assertion," Sorensen said. "It's pure speculation and it's completely incorrect. My client was completely in fear of his life, and in fear for the safety of everyone that was in the car with him. We had two other adults that were both deaf, and a 9 year old boy."

Passersby were hit by while the annual Comic-Con Zombie Walk took over downtown San Diego on July 26.

Police said at the time that a deaf family with small children in the black Honda Accord was stopped near 2nd and Island avenues just after 5:30 p.m., waiting for participants of the Zombie Walk to cross.

After several minutes the 48-year-old father Pocci slowly rolled forward, trying to get out of the area.
According to the SDPD, several people from the crowd of zombies allegedly surrounded the car and began punching it. Police said the car windshield was shattered by the crowd.

The woman was taken to a hospital for an injury to her arm. Two others sustained minor injuries. Witnesses to the crash say Pocci floored his car and his tires squealed seconds before impact.
At the time of the incident, Pocci was not cited or arrested.

"Seven months later. This is not a complicated situation. It's caught on videotape," said attorney Dan Gilleon, who is representing Pocci. "I mean, charges should have been filed -- if there was a real crime they would have filed charges within days normally."

Pocci later filed a claim against the San Diego Police Department and its Chief Shelley Zimmerman, saying the organizers did not file a permit for the event. He claimed the "SDPD caused and created a confusing and misleading situation for motorists."

"It turned into a crime to try and shield the embarrassment and liablity of the city because Chief Zimmerman is down there letting them do this unpermitted parade. The permit process would have required traffic control," said Gilleon.

The SDPD has not commented on Pocci's claim.

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