VISTA, Calif. — A motorist accused of driving drunk and causing a head-on collision near Pala that killed the other driver, then fleeing the scene, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of second-degree murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and DUI causing injury.
Garrett James Gelrud, 34, was ordered held on $3 million bail in the Aug. 5 death of 62-year-old Juan Corza Gonzalez, a North County rancher.
Authorities said Gonzalez was driving on Old Highway 395 near Bonsall about 5:30 a.m. when Gelrud — driving a Chevrolet Suburban — allegedly crossed the double yellow lines just north of Lilac Road and smashed into the victim’s Nissan Versa, killing him.
Gelrud allegedly fled the scene on foot but was arrested later in the morning.
The defendant is also charged in connection with a hit-and-run incident on July 1.
Gelrud faces 15 years to life if convicted. He will be back in court Aug. 27 for a readiness conference and Sept. 28 for a preliminary hearing.