The defendants faced their accusers at Vista courthouse on July 31
  • The defendants faced their accusers at Vista courthouse on July 31
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Luis said he woke up to someone knocking against his window, and when he looked up the stranger put a gun in his face. “He told me to give him the keys and get out of the car.”

Luis scrambled so fast to get out of his big Lincoln that he left his cell phone and one of his shoes in the car. “Yes, because he told me that otherwise he was going to shoot me right there. I was afraid.” Luis testified in court four weeks later.

He said he had been driving that Saturday night and felt that he better pull over, “Because I was really tired and thought I could crash.” He parked his black Lincoln on Buena Creek in San Marcos and slept there until he was awakened about 7 a.m. Sunday morning, July 2. “In English he told me, ‘Get out!’” Luis remembered the confrontation while in a witness box. “He told me he was going to shoot me if I didn’t give him the keys, in Spanish.” Luis testified with the assistance of a Spanish-speaking interpreter.

“Basically he looked like a cholo,” Luis also described the carjacker for Sheriff’s investigators soon after the incident. “He was a cholo. He had a thin face, Hispanic, short hair. He had a moustache and a little bit of a beard.” Luis motioned the shape of a goatee around his mouth and chin with his hand. He said the carjacker had a bandana wrapped around the pistol grip, but Luis could see the black barrel of the semi-automatic.

Ten days later, Oceanside police were in pursuit of a 2006 black Lincoln LS which had been reported stolen. Officer Estrada stated that the driver pulled away from his patrol car and accelerated through red lights and narrowly missed a pedestrian and got up to 80 miles per hour on Canyon Drive, which is posted for 40 mph. The chase went on for five or ten minutes and ended when the Lincoln crashed into a curb on 2141 Poplar Road. The car was disabled and the doors flew open and multiple occupants fled, according to a witness.

Julian Hernandez, 18, and David Alexander Rodriguez, 20, were captured a block away. The woman who witnessed the car crash told officers that Rodriguez was the driver. Carjacking victim Luis was shown photo lineups and he picked out Julian Hernandez as the man who had put a gun to his face and took his car, ten days earlier.

Hernandez and Rodriguez pleaded not guilty to multiple felonies, including car-jacking and car theft and felony evade officers with wanton disregard for public safety. The defendants faced their accusers in court on July 31, and will get a date for trial on August 31, in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse in Vista.

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