Former Fullerton City Manager Joseph Burt Felz pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Monday morning to misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence and hit and run in connection with his car crashing into a tree last year.
After attorney Bob Hickey entered the plea on his client Felz’s behalf, Judge Glenn A. Mahler, who hears DUI cases at the North Justice Center in Fullerton, set a pre-trial hearing for May 3.
Felz, 58, was still the city manager on Nov. 8 when his personal vehicle hopped a curb in the 200 block of West Glenwood Avenue in Fullerton and hit a tree, according to prosecutor Cynthia Nichols.
A witness called 9-1-1 and responding Fullerton police officers found Felz nearby, although he failed to immediately stop his vehicle after the crash, Nichols alleges.
A police sergeant performed a field sobriety test on Felz and the city’s top non-elected official was driven home and his vehicle was towed.
He was not arrested.
Felz retired as the Fullerton city manager on Dec. 31. The Cal State Fullerton alum had worked for the city since 1984.
He could spend up to a year in county jail if he is convicted of misdemeanor driving under the influence of alcohol and hit and run with property damage.