Local

Pedicab assault suspect freed, doesn't deny attack

Friday, August 24, 2012

The man charged with running down a pedicab driver in the Tower District is celebrating freedom, and talking, only to Action News.

Prosecutors had dropped the charges against Juan Estrada last month because of identification issues.

But Friday, they were trying to send him to prison for violating his probation.

Estrada has violated his probation three times on a 2008 conviction after a high speed police chase.

And that doesn't include the pedicab assault case prosecutors dropped.

And yet, the 26-year-old is not in jail.

"Out," he said as he left the Fresno County Superior Courthouse. "Free, baby!"

Estrada walked out of court a free man Friday -- sentenced to more probation after admitting to violating his probation for a third time.

His latest court appearance has nothing to do with the assault with a deadly weapon charges he faced for allegedly running down a pedicab driver in the tower district in April.

Prosecutors dropped those charges, saying there was some doubt surrounding the identifications by the victims.

But pedicab driver Jeff Macdonald says he knows it was Estrada who hit him and his passengers.

"Couldn't be any more positive," he said. "Not a doubt."

When an Action News reporter asked Estrada if he got away with that crime, he initially chuckled, but then he got more serious.

"I've talked to some of the victims and they tell me they're 100% sure it was you," the reporter said.

"At this time, I don't want to talk about the pedicab case," Estrada said.

"Are you denying you were there, though?" the reporter asked.

"I'm not making any statements," he said. "I'm not making any statements."

Estrada told me he may go back to the tower soon to seek out the pedicab driver, but Macdonald says he's not afraid for himself.

He's just concerned Estrada will find another target.

"It's just a matter of time, I guess, and that's a scary proposition when you think about it," Macdonald said.

Prosecutors believe Estrada will be back in court before long, facing some new charge.

But for now, he's the one getting the last laugh.

The judge ordered Estrada to finish 50 hours of community service by the beginning of December.

If he doesn't, he'll once again be in violation of his probation.

(Copyright ©2014 KFSN-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
fresno, fresno county, fresno tower district, local, corin hoggard
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