San Diego

Driver Accused of Being Behind the Wheel in San Diego's Deadly Downtown Crash Pleads Not Guilty

San Diego police said the driver, 71-year-old Craig Voss, was impaired at the time of the crash

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The man accused of killing three men when he plowed through a group of people sheltering in a tunnel in downtown San Diego faced a judge for the first time in the case on Tuesday, entering a not guilty plea.

Craig Voss, 71, was arrested March 15 following a deadly crash under a tunnel near San Diego City College, where dozens of houseless individuals took shelter from the cold weather that tragic day. Police said he struck a total of nine people at the homeless encampment along the 1400 block of B Street.

Three people were killed and several others were injured when a driver plowed onto a sidewalk under a tunnel near San Diego City College. NBC 7’s Audra Stafford has more information on the tragedy.

In court on Tuesday, Voss, his public defender and the district attorney handling the cases all appeared remotely.

Voss, who is currently being held in county jail, confirmed his participation with the judge by waving back and forth, although in the recording of the court session made by NBC 7, Voss' responses were unintelligible.

Through his attorney, Voss waived a formal reading of the charges and entered a not-guilty plea, denying "any and all allegations."

The amount of Voss' bail, which had been set at booking at $1 million, was not argued on Tuesday, but a bail review hearing was requested by his public defender.

Five people in the crash were hospitalized, some with critical injuries. One person who was struck by the car told NBC 7 he was able to walk away without any serious wounds.

The deceased were identified as 40-year-old Rodney Diffendal, 61-year-old Walter James Jones and 65-year-old Randy Daniel Ferris.

"We train for this but there’s just no way to prepare for something that’s this devastating," said San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Chief Colin Stowell. “This was a very tragic, tragic accident that will make an impact on a lot of lives.”

Voss identified himself to authorities at the scene and was then booked into San Diego Central Jail. Police said he was impaired at the time of the crash.

The defendant faces charges that include three counts of gross vehicular manslaughter, five counts of causing great bodily injury while committing a felony and one count of felony DUI. Voss is due back in court on March 30 for bail-review hearing. His bail is currently set at $1 million.

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