Couple suspected of attempted murder in East County attack, crash

EL CAJON, Calif.  — A Lakeside couple remained behind bars Monday on suspicion of attempted murder for allegedly attacking an El Cajon woman and then trying to run down her boyfriend with a car, police said.

David William Dunkel, 37, and Michelle Louise Bergen, 29, are each being held without bail and are tentatively scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon at the El Cajon courthouse. Both were booked on suspicion of attempted murder and felony criminal conspiracy, jail records show.

El Cajon police were dispatched about 1:20 p.m. Saturday to East Madison Avenue and North First Street after several 911 callers reported a vehicle striking a pedestrian, El Cajon police Lt. Jason Taub said. Once at the scene, investigators determined the crash “was a deliberate act.”

According to investigators, Bergen got out of a white Dodge station wagon prior to the crash and confronted an El Cajon woman who was a prior acquaintance of some kind, Taub said. Bergen allegedly assaulted the other woman before getting back into the car, which police believe Dunkel was driving.

As the victim ran away with her boyfriend, “Dunkel then deliberately drove his vehicle onto the sidewalk in the 1100 block of East Madison Avenue, striking the boyfriend of the original assault victim,” Taub alleged. “The female assault victim was able to avoid being hit by the vehicle.”

Footage from the scene showed the white Dodge sustained significant front-end damage after crashing into a light pole. Dunkel, Bergen and the man allegedly struck by their car were all taken by medics to undisclosed hospitals with moderate injuries, Taub said.

Dunkel was released from a hospital Saturday and booked into the San Diego Central Jail on Saturday night. Bergen was also booked Saturday night into the women’s Las Colinas Detention Facility.