Hernandez in court

Julian Hernandez during his arraignment in Kern County Superior Court.

A motorist charged with five felonies in connection with a chase that resulted in the death of a Bakersfield police officer told investigators he hates the BPD and if he had been stopped by police while armed he would have shot at them, according to redacted reports that became available Thursday.

Julian Hernandez admitted to being the driver Officer David Nelson was chasing at 2:40 a.m. June 26, the reports filed in court say. He said he threw a shotgun from his car while Nelson pursued him eastbound on Panorama Drive.

Motions to amend the criminal complaint against Hernandez and raise his bail are scheduled to be heard Friday. Chief Deputy District Attorney Mark Pafford declined to comment on the motions.

It’s possible the charge of gross vehicular manslaughter against Hernandez will be re-filed as second-degree murder. If that occurs, Hernandez would face a life sentence if convicted instead of the current maximum sentence of 12 years and eight months he faces if found guilty of the five current charges against him.

He remains in custody on $600,000 bail. 

The court filings say Nelson, 26, provided updates during the chase in which he told dispatchers he was chasing a suspect at speeds of 75 mph. His last update indicated there were no pedestrians and no other vehicle traffic as he chased the suspect eastbound on Panorama.

Another officer arrived at the scene shortly afterward and found Nelson’s patrol vehicle wrecked at the northwest corner of Panorama and Alfred Harrell Highway. 

The reports say Nelson was apparently making a left turn onto Alfred Harrell from Panorama but crossed the raised center divider and hit the curb, spinning his car around. The car continued traveling eastward and hit a wooden power pole and a concrete brick wall.

Nelson died from massive blunt force trauma including a torn aorta and several other torn internal organs, according to the reports. A doctor told investigators Nelson would not have survived more than a minute with those injuries.

The officer was not wearing a seatbelt, the reports say. 

A person called police the next morning and told them it’s likely Hernandez was the suspect they were looking for. The reports say police interviewed Hernandez, and he confessed to being involved in the chase.

Hernandez, 32, said he had placed paper plates on the car he was driving because he was delivering the shotgun to a person he refused to identify, the filings say. He said he had also planned to take pictures of himself holding the gun and post them on Facebook.

Hernandez is a convicted felon with a long criminal history, including multiple convictions for spousal abuse. He has declined interview requests from The Californian. 

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