Driver who allegedly hit and killed a man walking home from work pleads not guilty
Jason Palmer has extensive criminal history
Last Updated: 41 days ago
SAN DIEGO - An ex-con who allegedly fled after running down a 20-year-old man walking home from work in Spring Valley last weekend pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of gross vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run causing death.
Jason Michael Palmer, 33, was ordered held on $1.5 million bail. He faces 20 years in prison if convicted, said Deputy District Attorney Cally Bright.
Investigators are trying to determine if Palmer -- who was convicted in 2000 of misdemeanor DUI and hit-and-run -- was under the influence of alcohol or drugs when he allegedly slammed into Jacob Greenwald about 3:45 a.m. Sunday.
California Highway Patrol Officer Kevin Pearlstein said earlier that alcohol and/or drugs appeared to have been a factor in the crash.
Bright said Palmer has been to prison three times -- for attempted robbery, receiving stolen property and possessing a vehicle that didn't belong to him -- and was recently released from custody. Palmer was then released from some sort of halfway house, according to the prosecutor.
Authorities said Greenwald was walking home on a sidewalk on Campo Road when a Toyota 4Runner -- allegedly driven by Palmer -- struck and killed him. The 4Runner's front license plate was left behind, near the victim's body, Pearlstein said.
The 4Runner turned up about 9:30 a.m., parked near Interstate 805 and Aero Drive in Serra Mesa. Palmer was spotted in the area and arrested a short time later, according to Pearlstein.
A readiness conference was set for Nov. 7 and a preliminary hearing for Nov. 13.
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