A North County man faces a judge Thursday on charges he intentionally struck and seriously injured an Oceanside police officer.
Officer Brad Hunter testified in court Thursday at a pretrial hearing for Flores. A judge will consider whether there is enough evidence to force the defendant to stand trial.
Hunter was struck while conducting a traffic stop at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, June 19. The collision happened at Foussat Road, just south of Oceanside Blvd.
The impact was so forceful, Hunter shattered the vehicle's windshield and landed in the street. His police radio was embedded in the glass of the suspect's car, according to images submitted as evidence.
Roberto Ignacio Flores, 26, of San Marcos, pleaded not guilty to a first-degree attempted murder charge.
Police said Flores was behind the wheel of a silver Dodge Neon that traveled straight down Foussat Road in the direction of the officer until they collided.
Flores then drove away, police said, and then got out of his car and ran off.
Michael Patton had been pulled over by the officer because of an expired registration. As he looked down to get his license when he heard and felt the impact.
“I immediately looked up and saw,” he testified, “The officer who was just talking to me airborne in front of me.”
“The officer was hit more so than my car,” he said.
Patton said he heard a car accelerate before Hunter was struck.
Witness Toni Lessard said the suspect was swerving prior to the crash and sped up when approaching the officer.
She testified the incident occurred in 10 seconds.
“Out of two of those seconds they just sped up, hit him and drove off,” she said.
Under cross-examination, Flores’ defense attorney pointed out that Lessard had information in court that she didn’t relay in her initial police interviews including the model of the car involved.
Hunter testified he doesn’t recall the collision but remembers waking up in ICU very confused and unable to breathe.
“I have no memory from Sunday to some point on Tuesday,” he said.
He was hospitalized for 12 days for fractures in his leg and ankle. For part of that time, he was in a medically-induced coma.
Despite suffering a shattered leg and severe head injury the officer is on his way to making a full recovery.
In the past few weeks, he's received dozens of cards and gifts from NBC 7's viewers from around the country.
"It has bothered me that someone made a choice to hurt me. In this case, [it] happened to be me," said Hunter. "See other officers attacked and killed. You never think it will happen to you -- it's very disheartening. Scary."
"I'm a lucky guy. That is what I focus on. I'm focusing on all the positive that has come to me," said Hunter.