Jury selection began for ‘Zombie Walk’ driver; opening statements start Monday
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Jury selection started Tuesday for the trial of a deaf motorist accused of driving his car through a crowd watching the "Zombie Walk" parade during the 2014 Comic-Con convention.
Matthew Pocci, 47, faces three years in prison if convicted of felony reckless driving causing great bodily injury.
Superior Court Judge Amalia Meza handed out jury questionnaires and told prospective jurors to return Monday. Opening statements are expected that same day.
A pedicab driver testified during a preliminary hearing earlier this year that Pocci was "super angry” before accelerating and plowing through the crowd on July 26, 2014.
Saad Zaalan said the defendant was honking his horn and waving his arms as if he wanted Zaalan to move out of the way as the "Zombie Walk” proceeded through Island and Second avenues.
Zaalan said he attempted to explain to Pocci that he would have to wait until the parade was over.
The witness said people from the "Zombie Walk” jumped onto the front end of Pocci’s car, then the defendant drove off, striking a woman who suffered a serious arm injury.
Defense attorney Ashby Sorensen said Pocci was "scared and frightened” when people in the crowd surrounded his car and took the action he felt was prudent. Pocci wanted to protect himself, his girlfriend, her sister and his girlfriend’s 9-year-old son in the car, Sorensen said.
Pocci — who stayed at the scene — was not initially cited, but the District Attorney’s Office reviewed the case and in February sent the defendant a letter informing him of the charge.