Man accused of leading officers on dangerous chase through El Cajon pleads not guilty

Police cars rammed during pursuit

EL CAJON, Calif. - The man accused of ramming an El Cajon police sergeant's car before leading officers on a chase through town pleaded not guilty Tuesday to one felony count each of evading police and assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer.

Jerry Hickethier, 33, was arraigned via a video-hook up from the jail with a public defender by his side.

At one point, he was seen saluting his attorney.

Hickethier was driving a white pickup truck Thursday when a sergeant saw him run a red light. When the officer activated his lights and siren to pull Hickethier over, the white pickup was put in reverse, ramming the patrol car.

With several officers in pursuit, Hickethier's vehicle raced down busy city streets during rush hour. After about 20 minutes, he was stopped by a spike strip and several officers.

At his arraignment, Superior Court Judge Charles Ervin mentioned Hickethier's lack of local ties and his seven prior convictions in four states.

"It is noteworthy that almost every one of these prior misdemeanor convictions involved driving offenses of some type, including one prior DUI," said the judge as he raised Hickethier’s bail from $50,000 to $125,000.

10News learned through court documents that Hickethier was declared "a gravely disabled person" as the result of "a mental disorder" in 2010. His mother was named conservator, responsible for all decisions concerning his care.

In 2011, the court order expired. 

If convicted in this most recent case, Hickethier could face up to four years and eight months in prison.

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