A 32-year-old man who allegedly ran over a man in his 50s at a gas station in San Francisco’s Richmond District early Thursday morning pleaded not guilty this afternoon in San Francisco Superior Court to DUI and resisting arrest charges.
Phat Lam, of San Francisco, appeared in court wearing orange jail garb and flip-flops with his hands cuffed behind his back as he was arraigned on two felony DUI and two misdemeanor resisting arrest charges stemming from an incident at 3:30 a.m. Thursday at the Chevron gas station at 6000 Geary Blvd.
Assistant District Attorney Austin Sanford told Judge Tracie Brown that the victim who Lam allegedly hit remained at a hospital today in critical condition with facial and skull fractures.
Deputy Public Defender Aaron Grant said Lam had a recorded blood-alcohol content, or BAC, of .06, which is under the legal limit.
Grant said according to witness accounts, Lam was parked at the gas station and the victim lay down near the passenger side door of the car. Grant claimed the victim was extremely intoxicated.
When Lam moved his car, he ran over the man lying near his car, Grant said.
A witness said Lam had talked to the victim briefly before getting in his car and that this was not a normal DUI crash. He argued that Lam should be released from custody on his own recognizance.
Sanford contended that Lam has a prior DUI from 2000 and a 2011 conviction out of Chula Vista, California, for reckless driving.
He claimed Lam backed up over the victim, realized he had hit someone and then drove forward, hitting him again.
Sanford said Lam attempted to flee when medical crews arrived and then resisted arrest.
As to Lam’s BAC, Sanford argued that the test was taken four hours after the incident, meaning when the accident happened Lam was legally intoxicated.
Grant argued that there was no indication that Lam was violent toward officers when they detained him at the scene.
Judge Brown ruled to hold Lam on $100,000 bail, with the stipulation that if he could make bail he would be placed on an alcohol monitor.
Two brothers of the victim said outside of court that their brother, who was born in 1959, is married with two children, ages 5 and 10, and that he lives in the Richmond District where he has a small business.
His wife and another woman, both visibly upset, also attended today’s arraignment with the family.
His brothers said he remains in a hospital and is unable to talk.
The victim’s uncle said the deputy public defender’s allegations about his nephew were untrue and he used an expletive to explain what he thought occurred in court.
Lam’s preliminary hearing was set for June 13.
Sasha Lekach, Bay City News