Suspect in hit-and-run that injured Chargers intern, 2 others faces judge

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SAN DIEGO -- A man accused of intentionally running down three pedestrians with his girlfriend's car after getting into a fight with a group of people in Pacific Beach in the early morning hours of Aug. 5 pleaded not guilty Thursday to attempted murder charges.

Omar Gutierrez, 24, was ordered held on $350,000 bail. The defendant, who was arrested Tuesday, faces 13 years to life in prison if convicted.

Deputy District Attorney David McNees alleged that after the fight, Gutierrez and his girlfriend went back to her car, and he drove off and pulled over in the 900 block of Garnet Avenue, essentially waiting for the people who were involved in the altercation to cross the street.

Once they did, Gutierrez ran them over “like bowling balls,'' seriously injuring two people -- including San Diego Chargers intern J'ron Erby -- and leaving a third with a broken nose and road rash, McNees alleged. Two others were able to jump out of the way and were not hurt, the prosecutor said.

A surveillance camera captured images of Gutierrez, his girlfriend and the involved vehicle.

McNees said there was evidence that the windshield and the hood of the suspect's car had been changed, and there were efforts to hide the vehicle.

Defense attorney Paul Neuharth had a different version of events, telling Judge Frederick Maguire that Gutierrez and his girlfriend were jumped by a group of seven or eight people, then went back to her car and were trying to get away when the collision happened.

“This was not an intentional act,'' Neuharth told the judge.

Maguire scheduled a bail review for Oct. 5, with a preliminary hearing set for Jan. 10.

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