The attorney for the 19-year-old man whose alleged attempt to flee cops led to a horrific New Year’s Day car crash that killed two innocent people in the Mission district said his client “is very upset over the whole matter” and is “not a callous person.”
David Morales, 19, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges that include murder and attempted murder in connection with the collision that killed Silvia Tuncun, 29, and Francisco Gutierrez, 26.
Deputy Public Defender Stephen Olmo, who is representing Morales, said prosecutors are “overreaching” by filing murder charges in the case.
District Attorney George Gascón has said the charges Morales faces pack a potential sentence of more than 200 years in prison.
Tuncun was the passenger in the Toyota that was T-boned by Morales’ Chevrolet at 21st Street and South Van Ness Avenue about 8 a.m. Jan. 1, according to police. The collision propelled the Toyota onto a sidewalk, where it struck and killed Gutierrez, who had been walking into Muzio’s Wine Liquor corner store.
An 18-year-old man who was driving the Toyota is still recovering from injuries sustained in the wreck.
Before the crash, police said, Morales had been pulled over by police at 21st and Mission streets because he was the prime suspect in a shooting that had happened only minutes earlier at the Valencia Gardens housing development at 14th and Guerrero streets.
Morales allegedly opened fire on three people in what was described as a gang-related “challenge.” No one was injured in the shooting.
After receiving a description of his car, officers quickly found Morales’ Chevy, police said. But as they approached the vehicle, it sped off through two intersections before smashing into the Toyota.
Morales suffered minor injuries in the crash, police said, and a handgun was found in his banged-up car.
Morales is reportedly being held without bail because he violated his probation for a past San Mateo County conviction. He is due to return to a San Francisco courtroom Jan. 29 for a status hearing.