Wednesday, October 12, 2011
A man who fell to his death from a multi-story parking structure in front of horrified attendees at a social-justice rally at Civic Center Plaza was awaiting trial for a traffic accident that killed a Caltrans worker at a road-work site near El Centro, a prosecutor said today.
Kyle Wyborn Pearson, 42, plunged off the eighth floor of the building about 3:15 p.m. Monday, said Jeffrey Brooker of the Imperial County District Attorney's Office. Pearson, a San Diego resident, died on the walkway where he landed, near Downtown Johnny Brown's restaurant.
Authorities have yet to rule on whether the death was an accident or a suicide. Police initially said Pearson appeared to have intentionally jumped, but witnesses attending the ongoing Occupy San Diego demonstration nearby reported that he seemed to have lost his balance and accidentally tumbled off the parkade, possibly while hanging protest signs on the structure.
At the time of his death, Pearson was facing charges of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and hit-and-run in connection with the on-duty freeway death of veteran state transportation worker Jaime Obeso, 53.
Shortly after noon June 7, Pearson allegedly drove his black 2003 Ford Ranger through a row of safety cones surrounding a rest-stop construction site alongside Interstate 8. The truck struck Obeso, a 22-year Caltrans employee, at about 50 mph, killing him at the scene. The vehicle then continued out of the area, Brooker said.
About a half-mile away, the pickup skidded out of control on a curving stretch of roadway and overturned, trapping Pearson inside until emergency crews could free him.
Pearson, who allegedly was under the influence of marijuana when the crash occurred, faced a maximum of 17 years in prison if convicted, though he had no prior criminal history, the prosecutor said.
Brooker said he learned about Pearson's death from a defense attorney on Tuesday, after the defendant missed a pretrial hearing. Pearson had bailed out of jail in August.