BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A man accused of leading officers on a brief vehicle chase after which his passenger ran and was fatally shot pleaded not guilty Thursday to four charges.
Ismael Gardea, 38, had been out of custody but was rearrested after Court Commissioner Roger H. Ponce Jr. raised bail to $60,000. Gardea is charged with felony evading and misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest, driving without a license and possession of drug paraphernalia.
He’s due back in court May 23.
The incident leading to Gardea’s arrest began about 12:20 a.m. April 20 when officers tried to pull over a maroon Chevy Tahoe driving recklessly in the area of South H Street and Planz Road, police said. It matched the description of a stolen vehicle.
The Tahoe sped up and, within seconds, crashed into a pole. Gardea was arrested and passenger Jesus Javier Aleman, 33, ran into Planz Park, police said.
An officer gave chase, and video footage captured him yelling at Aleman to stop reaching for his waistband and get on the ground.
Aleman fired twice at the officer, police said. The officer returned fire, fatally wounding him.