A 26-year-old man pleaded not guilty to striking an Oceanside police officer conducting a traffic stop Wednesday.
Roberto Ignacio Flores, 26, of San Marcos, was charged with first-degree attempted murder of a peace officer, hit-and-run causing great bodily injury and assault against a peace officer.
Flores was already out on bail for an open felony case when the incident occurred, said prosecutors.
"Any time any defendant tries to intentionally harm one of the police officers in our community, we're going to take it seriously, and we're going to hold the defendant accountable," said Deputy District Attorney Keith Watanabe.
Prosecutors said the defendant veered intentionally out of his way to strike motorcycle Officer Brad Hunter with his vehicle. It happened while Hunter was conducting a traffic stop at Foussat Road, just south of Oceanside Blvd. The location is south of State Route 76 and east of Interstate 5 near a series of stores.
Hunter hit the wind shield, broke the glass and was thrown onto the street, Watanabe said. He lost consciousness and broke his right leg. He was taken by air ambulance to Scripps Memorial Hospital and placed in a medically-induced coma.
As Hunter lay unconscious on the road, Flores drove to the end of the street, parked his car and walked away. There was a passenger in Flores' vehicle who also walked away.
Prosecutors said Hunter is beginning to show signs of improvement and should be discharged from the hospital soon.
"Fortunately, Officer Hunter is now conscious and is doing well and is expected to be able to be discharged from the hospital at some point in the near future," said Watanabe.
Video surveillance showed the defendant running eastbound toward the Sprinter station. Moments later, police arrested Flores at the sprinter station on El Camino Real.
There were shards of glass on the defendant's shirt and chest area, Watanabe said.
Hunter is a 29-year veteran of the department.
If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 20 years to life in state prison.
The judge set his bail at $5 million because of his flight risk and the separate open felony case, prosecutors said. His bail for the separate felony case was set at $50,000.