Jamison Connor was high on drugs and alcohol when he drove his speeding Toyota into the path of a cyclist then took off, according to Escondido Police Department officers who testified at Connor’s preliminary hearing Tuesday.
The judge ruled there is enough evidence to try Connor on 10 charges including vehicular manslaughter, hit-and-run, driving under the influence, and drug and weapons violations.
Connor is also charged with endangering the safety of his 4-year-old son who was seated, unrestrained, in the front seat of the pick-up Connor was driving when he was arrested. Inside the pick-up, officers found a loaded semi-automatic gun and methamphetamine.
It was the week of Thanksgiving when Kevin Lentz went cycling with a group of other cycling enthusiasts along La Honda Drive in Escondido.
Another cyclist told police he saw Lentz brake quickly as a speeding Toyota sedan hit Lentz, who was launched into the air before slamming down into the pavement.
The Toyota kept going.
Lentz, a husband and father of an infant, died on the scene.
The Toyota was later found abandoned less than a mile away. Its windshield was shattered and the front logo was missing. That logo was found in the street near Lentz’ body, testimony showed.
Testimony also revealed a nearly empty vodka bottle was left on the floor of the Toyota and methamphetamine was found in the cup holder.
Escondido police linked the car to Connor, who was driving a pick-up when they tried to pull him over on Thanksgiving Day.
At first, officers testified he didn’t stop. When he did, they arrested him and later charged him in connection to Lentz’ death.
A check of the San Diego County Superior Court website shows Connor has had more than two dozen cases filed against him. The outcome of those cases is unknown.
Deputy District Attorney Drew Garrison told NBC 7 the only conviction he could confirm involved a felony for assault with a deadly weapon. Connor was on probation for that conviction.
Connor’s trial is set to begin June 2. If convicted he faces up to 32 years in prison.