A 28-year-old Fullerton man who dragged a Garden Grove motorcycle officer for several feet with his car to avoid a November traffic stop pleaded guilty Thursday to assaulting the cop.
Marcos Gonzalez, who was originally arrested for attempted murder, was sentenced to six years in state prison for the assault and sentencing enhancements for causing great bodily injury and having a 2007 conviction for possession of a controlled substance for sale.
Gonzalez was behind the wheel of a green, 2002 Infiniti Q35 with tinted windows and no license plate around 9:30 a.m. Nov. 2 when an Officer Starnes noticed the driver was not wearing a seatbelt while passing through a parking lot at 13321 Brookhurst St., Garden Grove.
Starnes had gotten off his police motorcycle, taken Gonzalez's information and begun filling out a ticket when he noticed the driver was acting nervously. The cop then had Gonzelez get out of the Infiniti for a "pat down" search for any weapons before telling the driver to sit on the curb. A conviction statement from the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) now adds Starns smelled marijuana on Gonzalez.
The policeman was radioing for back-up when Gonzales physically attacked Starnes, ran back to his car and dove into the driver's seat through the open door. Starnes tried to pull Gonzales out through the open door, but the driver backed up his car, knocking the cop over before running over a portion of his body. As the Infiniti left the scene, Starnes radioed he was down and needed assistance while also providing the suspect information and vehicle description.
While Starnes was recovering in the hospital from bruises, abrasions and what the OCDA now calls "a significant back injury," the Garden Grove Police Department informed the media a manhunt was under way for Gonzalez, who at the time was accused of trying to kill the cop. Gonzalez's DMV and previous booking photos were released to the public to help aid the search.
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With surveillance set up at the residences of friends and family members of Gonzalez, he was seen a couple mornings later riding in the passenger seat of a vehicle driving in the Riverside County town of Eastvale. The ride was pulled over, and Gonzalez was arrested without incident on suspicion of attempted murder.
But the OCDA later revealed Gonzalez would face the charges he ultimately copped to Thursday. With a conviction without the guilty plea, he could have been sentenced to nine years in prison.