'Zombie Walk' driver gets probation

Posted at 12:25 PM, Dec 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-11 15:25:16-05

SAN DIEGO -- A deaf motorist who drove through a group of spectators watching the "Zombie Walk" parade in San Diego, seriously injuring one woman, was sentenced Friday at the downtown courthouse.

Matthew Pocci, 47, was convicted last month of felony reckless driving.
He was sentenced Friday to three years probation and 60 days of electronic monitoring. The judge added that if Pocci is not accepted into the County Parole and Alternative Custody (CPAC) program, he will be required to serve 30 days in jail starting Jan. 22, 2016.
Pocci testified during his trial that he was "very nervous" while waiting for pedestrians to move out of the way near Second and Island as he left the Comic-Con convention with his girlfriend and others on July 26, 2014. The defendant said he started to worry when a crowd surrounded his car and people sat on the hood.
Deputy District Attorney Anthony Campagna told jurors the defendant stopped for several minutes on Second Avenue, and even turned his engine off for a few moments, before honking his horn "loudly, aggressively" and driving into the group of onlookers.
"He acted out of frustration and anger, a human emotion that anyone can feel whether you're deaf or not," the prosecutor said after the verdict. 
"I think that what happened here is that he got frustrated. He didn't want to wait any longer and he didn't want to communicate with the people trying to tell him to stop."
Pocci had attended the annual celebration of the popular arts at the San Diego Convention Center as a volunteer assisting deaf attendees and had just left the center with his girlfriend, her son and her sister.
Campagna said spectators were lined up three-deep along Island Avenue to watch the march of Comic-Con attendees in Halloween-type costumes, including in Gaslamp Quarter intersections. It was clear that a parade was going on and that the defendant would have to wait, he said.
Pocci drove off after running over the woman, causing a serious arm injury. The defendant stopped a couple of blocks later and contacted a police officer.