Driver in Comic-Con ‘Zombie Walk’ collision pleads not guilty

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SAN DIEGO -- A deaf man accused of deliberately plowing through a crowd at the “Zombie Walk” during last summer's Comic-Con convention, seriously injuring a woman, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a felony charge of reckless driving causing great bodily injury.

Matthew Pocci, 47, faces three years in state prison if convicted.

Deputy District Attorney Anthony Campagna said Pocci -- who had worked at the Comic-Con convention earlier -- came upon several hundred adults, teenagers and children participating in the annual “Zombie Walk'' parade near the intersection of Island and 2nd avenues the evening of 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 the car engine off.

According to a witness, Pocci became frustrated and angry after several minutes of waiting and proceeded to edge his car into the crowd at a slow rate of speed, the prosecutor said.

Some people in the crowd turned to Pocci as if to say “What are you doing?'', then two people sat on the defendant's left front fender, Campagna said.

“He (Pocci) then immediately thereafter floored his car and struck several of the people who were directly in front of his car, essentially running over one woman, causing serious injuries to her arm and leg,'' the prosecutor alleged outside court.

After Pocci allegedly sped into the crowd's midst, cellphone video shows one person who had been sitting on the defendant's car punching the vehicle, Campagna said.

Pocci -- who stayed at the scene -- was not initially cited, but the District Attorney's Office reviewed the case and last month 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 back door of the car and he was scared for himself, his girlfriend and a 9-year-old boy in the vehicle.

Pocci filed a claim that alleges the city of San Diego created dangerous conditions during an unpermitted event.

Judge David Szumowski allowed Pocci to remain free on his own recognizance and scheduled a preliminary hearing for May 28. A readiness conference was set for May 7.

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8 comments

  • Jacki Lovell-Howardson

    He was under stress and should be acquitted of all charges. The ACLU needs to step in and offer assistance, this is clearly a case of discrimination of a hearing impaired white tax payer.

    • Troll Patrol

      Please take the time to google JACKI LOVELL-HOWARDSON

      This is obviously someone paid by fox to go into all of their internet threads and be a complete and utter a##hole.

  • Ed

    If he is deaf he should not be driving anyway, he is in danger of everyone. How do you pass driving test? how do you hear police sirens? How about hearing a bunch of people telling you to stop running someone over?

    • Seriously Bro

      Was there a hearing test when you took your drivers test? If he cant hear the sirens coming he can SEE it. You know those flashing red and blue or red and white lights? Ya that also lets you know first responders are coming. Deaf people are not excluded from driving man. He just cant hear and is able to see perfectly (except the people he ran into apparently) HOWEVER, if he was working the comic con he should know of the events going on. He mad a poor decision.

  • James

    Someone who is a lawyer needs to help this poor fellow. The facts become more and more twisted by the media the longer this goes on. Having watched this case since it began I can see the public making this poor deaf individual out as a bad guy, and criminal. When in reality he protected a child, and girlfriend, doing only his American right. If an individual opened my door and I had a child in my backseat, driving away would be that individuals least worry. I’d be getting out, and injuring them for attacking not only my vehicle, but threatening my family. I agree heavily that the ACLU NEEDS TO JUMP IN AND DEFEND THIS POOR MAN. stop letting greedy idiots, WITHOUT COSTUME, in an unlicensed event, stopping up public streets, and frightening road traffic. Charges should be brought up against this woman, for the psychological damages she and the other zombie walkers caused this poor man and his family. And if a broken arm has suddenly become “great bodily injury” then my broken spine must be pretty amazing to survive, and the city of San Diego should be paying me much much more for the damages their unkempt roads caused my body. But you know, being bumped by a car under parking lots speeds, hurts sooooo much…. I have been struck in a parking lot, you get knocked down… Harsh… Seeing as you assaulted his private vehicle, and a minor who was in the vehicle. Part of me wonders if the woman did not suffer from a broken arm already, and her greedy mind is just seeking money. Where are the lawyers who like to play. Take a case and punish the system for once. Don’t let this poor man go to jail for the crimes of others. No one should Stand by and watch if he is found guilt, make the system pay for ITS sins, you pay such massive taxes to run a corrupt system. Doubt me? How about the massive federal sting on our police force and how corrupt and perverse that they found it to be… Wake up people. Don’t let your city crumble.

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