Man pleads not guilty in fatal hit-and-run involving bicyclist

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EL CAJON, Calif. — A Julian man accused of striking a bicyclist on a rural road east of El Cajon, then fleeing the scene, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to hit-and-run causing death.

Craig Wendell Nelson, a 56-year-old probationer, faces four years and eight months in state prison if convicted of causing the Jan. 20 death of 56-year-old La Mesa resident Kevin Wilson.

Nelson was heading east on Dehesa Road near Singing Hills Golf Course when his 1993 Mitsubishi Mirage veered into a bike lane east of Willow Glen Drive and hit Wilson from behind about 10:45 a.m. Jan. 20, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Wilson was taken to Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego, where was pronounced dead about an hour after the crash, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Nelson allegedly kept driving to the east and south before pulling over on Sloane Canyon Road and fleeing on foot, CHP public- affairs Officer Travis Garrow said. Officers eventually found the abandoned vehicle, and a helicopter search crew spotted Nelson in a nearby brushy area, Garrow said.

Nelson was initially set to be arraigned last week, but posted bail and was released from custody. However, following his arraignment, he was booked into county jail without bail due to multiple probation violations stemming from prior convictions, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

He’s due back in an El Cajon courtroom on Feb. 7 for a readiness conference.

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