Driver who hit woman during ‘Zombie Walk’ spared prison
SAN DIEGO — A deaf motorist who drove through a group of spectators watching the “Zombie Walk” parade in San Diego, seriously injuring one woman, was sentenced Friday to 60 days home detention and ordered to do 120 hours of volunteer work.
Matthew Pocci, 47, was convicted last month of felony reckless driving.
Judge Amalia Meza also placed Pocci on three years probation and made him surrender his driver’s license for at least a year.
“Sir, you are a good man, but you made a costly mistake that day,” the judge told the defendant.
Meza said Pocci did not exercise the patience or civility required to deal with the inconvenience of a passing parade.
“His actions caused the crowd to turn on him,” the judge said.
Pocci told the judge that he was sorry that Cynthia Campbell was seriously injured, although it was totally “unintentional.”
“I do accept full responsibility for what happened,” the defendant said.
Deputy District Attorney Anthony Campagna unsuccessfully argued that Pocci be jailed for 120 days, saying the defendant never accepted responsibility for the accident and told a probation officer that he didn’t do anything wrong.
The prosecutor said it was “miraculous” that no one else was seriously injured.
“He (Pocci) could have killed somebody here,” Campagna told the judge.
During his trial, Pocci testified that he was “very nervous” while waiting for pedestrians to move out of the way near Second and Island as he left the Comic-Con convention with his girlfriend and others on July 26, 2014. The defendant said he started to worry when a crowd surrounded his car and people sat on the hood.
Campagna told jurors the defendant stopped for several minutes on Second Avenue, and even turned his engine off for a few moments, before honking his horn “loudly, aggressively,” and driving into the group of onlookers.
Pocci had attended the annual celebration of the popular arts at the San Diego Convention Center as a volunteer assisting deaf attendees and had just left the center with his girlfriend, her son and her sister.
Campagna said spectators — many of them families — were lined up three- deep along Island Avenue to watch the march of Comic-Con attendees in Halloween-type costumes, including in Gaslamp Quarter intersections. It was clear that a parade was going on and that the defendant would have to wait, he said.
Pocci drove off after running over Campbell, causing a serious arm injury. The defendant stopped a couple of blocks later and contacted a police officer.