Witnesses describe deaf driver as angry, aggressive before ‘Zombie Walk’ crash

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SAN DIEGO -- A pedicab driver testified Wednesday that a deaf motorist was "super angry'' before accelerating and plowing through a crowd at the "Zombie Walk'' during last summer's Comic-Con convention, seriously injuring a woman.

Saad Zaalan, testifying at a preliminary hearing for Matthew Pocci, said the defendant was honking his horn and waving his arms as if he wanted the witness to move out of the way as the "Zombie Walk'' proceeded through Island and Second avenues.

Zaalan said he tried to explain to Pocci that he would have to wait until the parade-goers passed by and the crowd dissipated, but the 47-year-old defendant rolled up his window.

The witness said people from the ``Zombie Walk'' jumped onto the front end of Pocci's car, then the defendant drove off, striking a woman who suffered a serious arm injury.

“He was super angry,'' Zaalan said of Pocci.

Zachariah Adams, an off-duty sheriff's deputy, said he was enjoying the parade with his family when he heard Pocci honking his horn. He said he approached the defendant's car, trying to get Pocci to stop moving forward.

Adams said one person sat on the hood of the defendant's car and another banged on his front windshield.

“He (Pocci) accelerated quickly and basically drove through the crowd,'' Adams testified.

Deputy District Attorney Anthony Campagna said Pocci -- who had worked at the Comic-Con convention earlier in the day -- came upon several hundred adults, teenagers and children participating in the annual "Zombie Walk'' about 5 p.m. last July 26.

Campagna said Pocci stopped his car about two to three car lengths behind the parade-goers -- some dressed in Halloween-type costumes -- and turned off the car engine.

Pocci -- who stayed at the scene -- was not initially cited, but the District Attorney's Office reviewed the case and in February sent the defendant a letter informing him of the charge.

In an online interview, Pocci said he feared for his safety when people were jumping and punching his car. Pocci said someone even opened the rear door and he was scared for himself, his girlfriend and a 9-year-old boy in the vehicle.

Pocci's preliminary hearing will resume Thursday. At its conclusion, Judge Lisa Schall will decide whether enough evidence was presented for the defendant to proceed to trial.

Pocci faces three years in prison if convicted of felony reckless driving causing great bodily injury.

2 comments

  • LEON

    THIS A – HOLE IS USING EVERY EXCUSE. HE THINKS HIS HANDICAP ENTITLES HIM TO WALK FREE.
    HOLD THIS JERK ACCOUNTABLE. BEING DEAF IS NO EXCUSE TO DRIVE THROUGH A CROWD.

  • Zander Kumamato

    while this is very tragic, you should realize that you were at a ZOMBIE WALK. you’re asking for bad stuff to go down just by dressing up for this stupid event. Quite frankly I’m surprised a zombie walk hasn’t been shot up by someone freakin out there are zombies outside. ZOMBIE WALKS ARE A TERRIBLE IDEA! DONT DO IT!

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