Crime

Man who crashed into Cambria bakery arrested again — for alleged child abuse

Cambria bakery heavily damaged by vehicle that crashed into building

The French Corner Bakery in Cambria was open and filled with customers when a truck crashed into another vehicle and sent it through the wall on Saturday, February 25, 2017.
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The French Corner Bakery in Cambria was open and filled with customers when a truck crashed into another vehicle and sent it through the wall on Saturday, February 25, 2017.

A Cambria man who claims he “blacked out” shortly before plowing his truck into a crowded bakery last year, seriously injuring two people, was arrested again last weekend on suspicion of child abuse.

Jeremy Ian Preston, 41, was arrested Sunday and booked into San Luis Obispo County Jail late that evening on suspicion of inflicting corporal injury upon a child, according to the jail’s booking log.

Sheriff’s Office spokesman Tony Cipolla said Tuesday that deputies were dispatched Sunday to the Cambria Fire Station for a report of an injury to a child. When they arrived, they found a 9-year-old female victim — Preston’s daughter — with her mother, Cipolla said.

The mother reported that Preston was heavily intoxicated when he got into an argument with his daughter, and at one point during the argument, he picked up a sweatshirt and swung it at the girl’s head three to five times, Cipolla said. The sweatshirt had a zipper on it, which caused an injury to the girl’s head that bled profusely.

Preston Prelim002
Jeremy Ian Preston, of Cambria, left, sits with lawyer Ilan Funke-Bilu during a September preliminary hearing for DUI and reckless driving charges for a February 2017 crash into the French Corner bakery on Main Street in Cambria that injured five people. Joe Johnston jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Preston allegedly told the mother and daughter to leave his house, which they did before calling 911 from a friend’s house. Cipolla said deputies found Preston at his home and arrested him without incident.

A Sheriff’s Office dispatch log shows an arrest was made at the 3000 block of Wilton Drive at about 7 p.m. Sunday.

No charges had been filed related to the arrest as of Tuesday, and Assistant District Attorney Eric Dobroth said one of his office’s deputies was reviewing information about the arrest to decide whether a criminal charge is appropriate.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Preston was listed as being in custody at the San Luis Obispo County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail, although his attorney says that Preston’s out of jail seeking medical attention at a local hospital.

Ilan Funke-Bilu, who’s representing Preston in the reckless driving case, said he hasn’t yet been able to speak to his client about Sunday’s arrest because of “serious medical issues,” but declined to comment further.

Preston was scheduled to attend a trial-setting conference for the reckless driving case on Tuesday, but the hearing was postponed to next week.

At a preliminary hearing in September, a CHP officer testified that just before 8 a.m. on Feb. 25, 2017, Preston was driving a pickup truck on Main Street in downtown Cambria traveling between 50 and 60 mph when he ran a stop sign at Burton Drive and slammed into a pickup that was pulling into the French Corner Bakery parking lot.

The impact sent both vehicles into a parked Mercedes and into the occupied building, where five people were injured, two seriously.

The CHP officer testified that he interviewed a dazed Preston after the crash, and Preston told him he had taken a sleep aid, anti-seizure medication and an anti-depressant just prior. The officer also recalled that Preston told him he had recently had two other “black-out” episodes while driving, in which he came to stopped on the side of the road.

A breathalyzer and blood alcohol test came back negative, even though a half-empty bottle of vodka was found inside the vehicle, and the CHP initially recommended he be charged with driving under the influence of a drug.

Another CHP officer testified that a combination of three moving violations Preston allegedly committed — speeding , running a stop sign and making unsafe turning movements — constituted reckless driving.

Preston suffered a broken foot in the crash, according to testimony.

In addition to the reckless driving charge, Preston has also pleaded not guilty in another ongoing misdemeanor case filed in October 2016 for alleged destruction of an archeological structure in a state park.

Both cases are scheduled for trial-setting conferences Dec. 4.

Matt Fountain: 781-7909, @mattfountain1
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