A man charged with five felonies including vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence admitted to leading a police officer on a chase that resulted in his death, according to court filings.
Reports filed by police say Julian Carlos Hernandez, 32, admitted both in writing and orally that he was involved in Friday’s chase in which Bakersfield Police Officer David Nelson crashed and died. Hernandez is being held on $600,000 bail and faces up to 12 years and eight months in prison if convicted of all the charges against him.
A tip led police to a residence in the 2600 block of Sunny Lane in east Bakersfield Saturday, where Hernandez handed investigators the note. Brought to BPD headquarters, he told detectives he fled when Nelson stopped him because he had a loaded shotgun in his car and was prepared to do “whatever it took” to avoid capture, according to the court filings.
The reports say Hernandez told investigators he pushed the accelerator pedal to the floorboard during the chase. He said he had planned to drop the gun off at the house of another person.
Police have said Nelson, 26, was on patrol about 2:30 a.m. Friday when he saw a suspicious-looking silver Hyundai with paper license plates near Flower and Haley streets. He stopped the vehicle and when he approached, it took off.
Nelson radioed to dispatchers that he was in a pursuit, and moments later he crashed into a block wall at Panorama Drive and Mount Vernon Avenue. The officer was taken to Kern Medical Center and pronounced dead at 3:05 a.m.