Man who fled zombies pleads guilty

Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY,  |  May 14, 2013 at 9:41 AM
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A Tennessee man who stole a big rig truck and crashed it, causing a major pile-up on a California highway, pleaded guilty to felony charges of assault with a deadly weapons, hit and run causing death or injury, and vehicle theft Monday.

Jerimiah Hartline, 29, told police he thought zombies were clinging to the side of the strawberry-filled truck, and so he swerved back and forth as he drove, trying to shake them off.

Hartline stole the truck from a weigh station, hitting several cars before the truck flipped onto its side in the crash on Interstate 15 on April 6 near Temecula, Calif.

Hartline accepted a deal from the Riverside County District Attorney's Office, pleading guilty to three counts and one allegation of causing great bodily injury, the San Diego Union Tribune reported. Prosecutors dismissed four charges, including the one for reckless driving.

District Attorney's Office spokesman John Hall said Hartline could face up to five years in prison. He is scheduled for sentencing June 24.

Although the stolen trailer eventually tipped over, spilling strawberries and blocking all four northbound lanes of the highway, much of the load was undamaged and donated to local food pantries and nonprofits.

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