7 Felonies, $2M Bail for Man in Bizarre Toddler Freeway Attack

Nicolas Lopez Garcia, 44, is accused of stabbing a toddler with a freeway sign marker along the 215 Freeway in Menifee, Calif., on May 11 as the tot's family changed a flat tire on the side of the road

A man accused of attacking an 18-month-old toddler on the side of a Southern California freeway as the boy’s family changed a flat tire on their car was formally charged in the bizarre attack Wednesday.

Nicolas Lopez Garcia, 44, was charged by the Riverside County District Attorney’s office with seven felonies and one misdemeanor, including the attempted murder and attempted kidnapping of the toddler and several counts of assault with a deadly weapon.

Garcia pleaded not guilty on all counts at his arraignment.

If convicted on all charges, he faces 25 years to life in prison, the Riverside DA’s office said. Garcia is currently being held at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta, Calif.

On Monday, at around 1:30 a.m., Garcia allegedly attacked an entire family from San Diego on the side of the 215 Freeway in Menifee, Calif.

Investigators said Garcia crossed both directions of freeway traffic to get to the family as they tried to repair their flat tire.

As he approached the disabled vehicle, CHP officials said Garcia broke a couple of windows using the jagged edge of a plastic freeway sign paddle marker and tried to pull the toddler out of the car. He then began stabbing the boy with the marker.

Four adults who were inside the car – including the child’s mother and father – got out and tried to stop Garcia. They all sustained cuts in the confrontation.

The victims then fled and called 911.

When CHP officers got to the freeway shoulder, Garcia was setting fire to the group’s belongings. He resisted arrest, officials said, but was ultimately taken into custody.

The boy and the adults inside the family car were all taken to a nearby hospital with non-life threatening injuries and are expected to make full recoveries.

Investigators called the freeway attack random in nature, and said Garcia was under the influence of drugs.

The Riverside DA’s office said Garcia is scheduled to appear in court again on May 21.

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