Feb. 20—A Chico man charged with driving under the influence and hit-and-run that seriously injured a California Highway Patrol officer entered no contest pleas Friday to three counts. A jury trial set to begin Tuesday was vacated.
Lucas Nelson pleaded to charges of felony DUI causing injury, hit-and-run resulting in permanent serious injury, and misdemeanor resisting, delaying or obstructing a peace officer.
Nelson was arrested Oct. 19, 2019, after hitting Officer David Gordon with a car while Nelson was drunk. Gordon suffered breaks to his legs, pelvis, face, jaw and shoulder blades. He was directing traffic on Highway 99 at Lomo Crossing when he was hit.
Gordon was released from UC Davis Medical Center in February 2020.
The hearing Friday was scheduled to be a trial readiness conference. Instead, Nelson entered into a plea deal with the Sutter County District Attorney's Office.
According to Judge David Ashby, Nelson pleaded no contest on the condition that he will be placed on probation when sentenced. What was not agreed upon between the two sides is whether Nelson will be sentenced to time in county jail and, if so, for how long.
Nelson verbally pleaded no contest to the three counts in court while sitting alongside his attorney Donald Bartell. Ashby advised Nelson that he was pleading to a strike offense, which could mean harsher punishments if he commits crimes in the future. Sutter County Deputy District Attorney Diego Heimlich asked Ashby to advise Nelson about the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Ashby said Nelson will be interviewed by the probation department for the purposes of writing a sentencing report. At his sentencing either Ashby or another judge will decide whether to accept the plea the parties stipulated to and if it is accepted will determine whether Nelson will have to serve time in county jail.
Nelson will be sentenced at 9 a.m. on April 16. He has been out of custody since posting bail on Oct. 21, 2019.