Pleasanton Weekly

News - April 22, 2011

100 mph driver with wife on hood pleads not guilty

Accused is found competent to stand trial

by Jessica Lipsky

Christopher Michael Carroll, the Manteca man accused of hitting speeds of 100 miles an hour with his wife on the hood of their minivan until they reached Pleasanton, pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder and spousal abuse on Tuesday.

San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Richard Vlavianos found Carroll to be mentally competent to stand trial based on the result of a third psychiatric exam, according to reports. Vlavianos ordered the third exam after two doctors gave differing opinions on Carroll's mental state.

Carroll, 36, was also charged with assault with a deadly weapon after the Feb. 26 incident left his wife with hypothermia and discolored hands. Manteca Police spokesman Rex Osborn said Carroll's wife had tried to stop him from leaving their home after an argument about Carroll's drug use.

"Friday night before midnight, they're still arguing about his drug use. He demands the keys to the family van ... He assaults her," Osborn said. "She jumps on the front of it. She grabs hold of the wipers. She's actually flung from facing the windshield to his right. She ended up wedged between the antenna and the passenger side window."

Osborn said the woman, whose pants may have become caught in something on the van, clung to a windshield wiper and the wheel well as the minivan wound through Manteca city streets, where police received their first report of the incident.

A 911 caller reported an accident between a pedestrian and a car, but when police arrived, no one was there. Meanwhile, Carroll -- his wife still holding on -- made his way onto Interstate 5 and California Highway 132 and across the Altamont Pass on Interstate 580, where he pulled off onto the Tassajara Road exit in Pleasanton.

At his arraignment on March 3, Carroll demanded a speedy trial and to represent himself before turning to the judge to say, "I'm guilty." The court wouldn't accept the plea because Carroll hadn't been told of the potential penalties involved.

Carroll, who is now represented by attorney Mary Ann Bird, is being held without bail at the San Joaquin County Jail in French Camp. He will return to the Stockton courthouse April 26 to determine a date for his preliminary hearing.

--Glenn Wohltmann contributed to this story.

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