Long beach police cruiser
Photo by John Schreiber.

A Long Beach man who was allegedly driving drunk when he fatally struck a man in a wheelchair in an unmarked crosswalk pleaded not guilty Friday.

Joseph Maez, 26, entered his plea to one felony count each of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury and driving with a 0.08% blood-alcohol content causing injury, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

He is due back in court on Aug. 16 for a pretrial hearing.

Maez was allegedly driving the Honda Civic that struck the 59-year-old man pushing a cart full of his belongings across Stearn Street at Radnor Avenue in the Los Altos neighborhood of Long Beach at 11:19 p.m. June 12, authorities said.

The victim — identified by the Long Beach Post as Mitchell Morales — was pronounced dead at the scene despite life-saving measures attempted by police and fire department personnel.

Maez was arrested June 13 by Long Beach police and released on bond early the next morning, jail records show.

“Driving under the influence is a potentially deadly decision with severe consequences,” District Attorney George Gascon said in a statement announcing the charges last month.

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