Mike Madriaga 6:30 p.m., May 3
Motorcyclist charged with felony for punching bad driver
Defendant Robert Owens claims driver cut him off and then ran into his bike
The witness said, “I was going to McDonald’s.” As Charles Ferraro turned onto South Santa Fe Drive in Vista, he saw an SUV pull out of a parking lot and almost hit a passing motorcyclist, right in front of him.
The motorcyclist had to swerve to avoid being hit, witness Ferraro said. He saw the biker pull up next to the SUV and wave both his arms at the driver in a gesture of frustration. This was near the intersection of Pala Vista Drive.
At the next corner, the motorcyclist was coming to a stop in front of the SUV, and the witness said he saw the SUV speed up and lightly tap the motorcycle before both vehicles came to a stop; this caused the motorcycle to fall to the ground, the witness told a judge.
The motorcycle rider, 30-year-old Robert Cameron Owens, went to the driver’s side of the SUV and pulled open the door and punched the man inside, according to multiple witnesses who came to court today, October 15, 2013.
Robert Owens pleads not-guilty to felony assault charges.
The driver of the SUV, sixty-five-year-old Anthony Lepre, also testified today. He denied driving his SUV into the motorcycle: “No I didn’t.” And he claimed “I was saying I was sorry” before “I was hit several times in the head.”
The SUV driver admitted that although the motorcyclist asked to see his identification, Lepre didn’t want to produce his driver’s license nor proof of insurance until officers showed up.
Defense attorney Deborah Kirkwood suggested that the alleged victim-of-punching Anthony Lepre has a felony conviction in Colorado for a similar incident in 2007, in which Lepre admitted assault and “menacing.” The defense attorney claimed Lepre was arrested at that time on suspicion of reckless driving and using his vehicle as a weapon. Lepre claimed he couldn’t remember those charges exactly, but “I pleaded guilty to a different charge.”
Honorable Judge K. Michael Kirkman noted that defendant Robert Cameron Owens has his own list of prior court cases, the judge said Owens had eight convictions in the past twelve years, “many assault-related,” mostly misdemeanors.
The judge remarked on the testimony of the SUV driver, who complained of dizziness and blurry vision in one eye after he was hit, and the judge denied defense’s request to reduce the felony charge to a misdemeanor.
Judge Kirkman did reduce bail from $100,000 to $50,000, and ordered defendant Owens back to court on October 30, in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse.
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