The driver who plowed through a group of people during a 2014 "Zombie Walk" downtown said Thursday he had honked his horn twice and tried to ease his car through the crowd.
When people continued to surround his car, Matthew Pocci said that's when he got scared.
"I could feel these people all around me...they sat there defiantly," Pocci, who is deaf, testified through an ASL interpreter. "I felt threatened. I was scared."
He told jurors, "I felt forward was the only way out."
So Pocci said he drove his car right through the group during Comic Con last year, seriously injuring one woman who became caught underneath the vehicle.
The woman, Cynthia Campbell, suffered a significant arm injury as well as deep tissue trauma to her right leg.
Pocci is on trial for a felony reckless driving charge. The case hinges on whether he plowed through the group out of anger and frustration or was frightened and intended no malice.
Prior to Pocci taking the stand, one of his passengers, a friend named Alexandra Antonio, told jurors the crowd was hitting and rocking the car prior to Pocci driving through the group.
"They seemed angry," she said. "I thought they were going to hurt us."
She said she thought people were going to flip the car over.
"I saw two people jump on the hood," Antonio testified. I felt a "boom" and I looked up and there was a big crack in the glass.
Pocci said he's been scarred since the incident and often thinks about the woman he injured.
"I could not get her off my mind," he said. "I can't believe I hit a woman. I couldn't hurt a fly."