The motorist accused of attempting to grab a California Highway Patrol (CHP) Officer’s gun after getting into a solo freeway accident in Mission Valley made his initial court appearance Tuesday.
CHP officer Tony Pacheco was shot in his right thigh last Wednesday alongside Interstate 8 during a scuffle for control of his gun with a 25-year-old Yuhao Du.
Du was scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday, but his defense attorneys requested that he not enter a plea until next week. He remains in custody without bail, pending his arraignment set for next Tuesday.
CHP said the incident occurred around 6:15 p.m. when Pacheco approached Du, a graduate student at UC San Diego, after crashing his vehicle in the center median of I-8 in Mission Valley, near the I-805 overpass. To protect himself and Du, Pacheco parked in the fast lane, according to CHP Capt. Taylor Cooper.
Investigators said Du was in front of his Audi when he lunged toward Pacheco’s firearm, unprovoked. Cooper said the altercation happened within a few seconds of Pacheco encountering Du, letting out one round which injured the officer.
“The struggle (then) continued, at which point several passing motorists stopped to assist the injured officer by providing medical aid and restraining Du until additional law enforcement (personnel) arrived,'' CHP spokesman Jake Sanchez said
Paramedics transported Pacheco to Scripps Mercy Hospital, where he was recently released.
One of Du's attorneys, Anna Demidchik, said she hoped anyone who viewed social media videos of the incident would “hold off on judgment'' until more facts came to light.
“All the videos seem to be of what happened after the alleged incident,'' Demidchik said. “There is no video whatsoever showing what exactly took place immediately before and what exactly unfolded.''
Demidchick declined to disclose specific information about the case to reporters outside court.
“Honestly, nobody knows what happened at this point.''
Du is scheduled to be arraigned on May 10.