Man accused of dragging U.S. marshal with his car faces judge

Matthew Motsenbocker accused in July 6 incident

SAN DIEGO - A deputy U.S. marshal who was dragged along a street when he tried to take the keys from a car he had stopped testified Wednesday that he shot the man driving the vehicle because he feared for his life.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Don Allie testified at a preliminary hearing for Matthew Motsenbocker, who is accused of jumping in the driver's seat and accelerating after a woman who was initially driving got out of the car.

Allie said he was attempting to take the keys out of the ignition when Motsenbocker dragged him along Balboa Avenue near Interstate 805 last July 6 about 2:45 p.m. Authorities estimated Allie was dragged about 100 yards before being thrown clear. Allie said he lost consciousness after hitting his head and knew he had a concussion.

"My first thought was Motsenbocker had just tried to kill me," Allie testified.

Motsenbocker, 31, is charged with assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, resisting an officer with force, possession of a stolen vehicle and other charges. He faces up to 19 years in prison if convicted.

Police were looking for the defendant that day after he failed to appear in court on charges of burglary, being a felon in possession of a firearm and check fraud, authorities said.

The preliminary hearing resumes Thursday before Superior Court Judge Lisa Schall. When it's over, the judge will decide if enough evidence was presented for Motsenbocker to stand trial.

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