An Aliso Viejo man pleaded guilty Tuesday to running over a U.S. Customs and Border Protection employee at the federal building in Laguna Niguel three years ago, leaving the victim with permanent injuries.
Geoffrey Donald Rickner, 48, admitted driving his Mercedes-Benz sedan into CBP security specialist Jose Gutierrez on March 3, 2016, outside the Chet Holifield Federal Building, according to federal prosecutors. After slamming into the victim, the car continued through a metal garage door and crashed into a concrete wall.
Gutierrez — who was in a well-marked crosswalk and wearing his federal employee identification card at the time — suffered serious head and leg injuries, along with broken ribs and internal bleeding, that resulted in a three-week hospitalization and “continue to cause him pain and physical impairment,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Rickner had been behaving suspiciously before the collision, leading building security personnel to detain him at one paint, during which he made comments about owing money to the IRS, according to court documents.
An Oct. 7 sentencing date was set for Rickner, who pleaded guilty to one count of assault on a federal employee by use of a dangerous and deadly weapon and inflicting bodily injury, a felony offense that carries a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.
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