A motorist who allegedly drove drunk and the wrong way on two freeways before getting into a head-on collision that killed the other driver pleaded not guilty Wednesday to four felony charges, including vehicular manslaughter and DUI causing great bodily.
Nicholas Gervais, 28, was ordered held on $250,000 bail in connection with death last Sunday morning of John Mathew Hajosy, also 28.
Gervais faces a maximum of 10 years and eight months in prison if convicted.
"This is why we don't drink and drive. This is why you call a cab," the victim's mother said.
Jane Hajosy said Matt, as her son was known to his friends and family, had a smile "that would light up any room he walked into."
"He (was) an amazing man, he was studying to be a nurse and had found his true calling as a healer," she told reporters. "He was a gentle soul."
The victim's mother said she wants the anger out of her heart.
"I want the driver to understand what he's done, and I hope that in time he can work with other people to understand that you don't drink and drive," she said.
Nicole Pique, the victim's best friend, said he will be missed.
"The only sense you can make out of such a senseless tragedy is that we were granted this angel for this long in our life, and God wanted his angel back," she said.
Deputy District Attorney Lucy Yturralde told Judge Jay Bloom that Gervais was spotted driving south in the northbound lanes of state Route 125 about 2:10 a.m. Sunday.
An El Cajon police officer tried to get Gervais' attention by flashing his lights at the wrong-way driver and also tried to videotape what was happening, Yturralde said.
Gervais' BMW subsequently headed west at about 80 mph in the eastbound lanes of state Route 94 and crashed head-on into Hajosy's car, the prosecutor said.
The victim suffered a lacerated spleen and major head injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Hajosy's mother said her son had been out on an "amazing date" with friends the night before.
Gervais was taken to a hospital and breathalyzer tests measured his blood-alcohol content at .23 percent and .21 percent about three hours after the crash, according to Yturralde, who said a marijuana pipe and a marijuana bowl were found in the defendant's vehicle.
The judge—in granting the prosecutor's request for $250,000 bail instead of the defense's $100,000 request—said he was concerned that Gervais represented a danger to the community. The defendant's blood-alcohol content represented a "substantial amount of drinking," he said.
A preliminary hearing was set for March 11.
—City News Service