FRESNO – After hearing testimony from witnesses and police on Thursday, a judge ordered a Fresno man to stand trial for running into one person and killing another in September.
Kenneth Almeda, 45, is accused of being under the influence of cocaine when he ran over a bicyclist with his car and then ran into another man walking nearby on Sept. 12. The bicyclist, Ignacio Rebullosa, 60, died at the scene. The other victim, Lodis Gant, 62, testified in front of Judge Jon Nick Kapetan about the hit and run.
Gant said that he saw the suspect drive his car over the bicyclist on Parkway Drive near Belmont Avenue. The suspect then hit Gant, who was standing on the sidewalk. Gant suffered severe injuries to his right arm.
Fresno police officer James Barnard testified that Almeda tried to drive away, but ran into a wall after hitting Gant. According to Barnard, Almeda ignored officers’ commands to surrender and started yelling, “Kill me, kill me.”
Barnard went on to testify that his partner shot the suspect with a less-than-lethal shotgun, but Almeda was able to rush officers with a stick in his hand. Barnard’s partner shot Almeda two more times with the same shotgun, which enabled the officers to handcuff him.
A toxicology report showed cocaine in Almeda’s system.
Almeda will face felony charges of gross vehicular manslaughter, driving under the influence of drugs, hit and run, and using violence or threats to deter police. Judge Kapetan ordered Almeda, who was previously free on a $143,000 bond, to be put in handcuffs and sent to jail. His bail was increased to $750,000.
Kapetan said that it would be too dangerous to let Almeda go free.