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Man accused of driving U-Haul into crowd pleads not guilty to serious charges

Posted at 5:22 PM, Mar 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-04 20:22:14-05

VISTA, CA (KGTV) — The man accused of intentionally driving a U-Haul van into a crowd of people outside of an Encinitas bar, pleaded not guilty to serious charges in a Vista courtroom Wednesday.

Christian Davis, 28, stood next to an attorney with his head down as he was formally charged with two counts of attempted premeditated murder, three counts of assault with a deadly weapon, and one count of felony driving under the influence of alcohol.

Deputy District Attorney, Kim Coulter, said the incident early Sunday morning started at the Saloon and Shelter bar when Davis was kicked out.

RELATED: Video shows driver slamming into crowd outside Encinitas bar

"He was asked to leave because he was highly intoxicated and it was time for him to go," said Coulter.

Once he was kicked out, Coulter said he got into a verbal argument with two bouncers, then threatened them.

"It escalated and culminated with Davis telling the security guards 'you're going to regret doing this, I’m going to come back and I’m going to kill you,'" she said.

Moments later, witnesses saw the U-Haul heading for a crowd of people standing outside of the bars.

RELATED: Man arrested after driving into crowd outside Encinitas bar

The incident was captured on a passerby's dash cam video.

"He reversed out of a 7-Eleven and he came barreling down a sidewalk in front of Shelter bar, right into a crowd of people," said Coulter. "It’s our position that he used the U-Haul passenger van as a deadly weapon."

Good Samaritans rushed to hold Davis in place until deputies arrived and arrested him. Sadly, two men who were outside of the bar at the wrong time were seriously hurt.

"A 25-year-old victim has had a severe injury to his leg, he’s had his third surgery today," said Coulter.

The other victim, a 24-year-old, was also left hospitalized with severe injuries.

"He has two collapsed lungs, fractured ribs, a broken arm and he did spend time in the ICU," she said.

Bail was set at $1 million. If Davis is released on bail, he will wear an alcohol monitoring bracelet.

He is due in court for a preliminary hearing on March 17.