Driver accused of fleeing from traffic stop, injuring CHP officer pleads not guilty

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A woman charged with a slew of felonies for allegedly dragging a California Highway Patrol officer as he clung to the side of her vehicle after she fled from a traffic stop last week in San Francisco pleaded not guilty to all charges this morning in court.

Nicole Wade, 33, of Pittsburg, entered the plea as more than a dozen CHP officers watched in court, including the officer she's accused of injuring.

Wade has been charged with 20 counts, including attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm, false imprisonment and assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer. She's also being charged with resisting an officer, driving while under the influence, child endangerment and evading an officer, according to court records.

Outside of court this morning, CHP Sgt. Christine Jacobs said that the injured officer, identified as Officer Kyle Spears, is recovering.

"Considering the totality of the circumstances, he's doing remarkably well," Jacobs said. "This was a traumatic event for not just Officer Spears but the responding officers and the innocent parties that were victims to this as well."

The incident unfolded on April 27 around 5 p.m., when Officer Spears pulled over a red Jeep on eastbound Interstate Highway 80 east of Fourth Street, approaching the Bay Bridge.

Wade, the Jeep's driver, allegedly gave Spears a driver's license not issued to her and Spears asked for additional identification, according to the CHP.

As Wade walked back to her car, Spears followed her. Wade then got into the driver's seat of the Jeep to try to get away and Spears tried to stop her, CHP officials said.

Driving on the right shoulder, Wade allegedly sped away with Spears hanging outside the Jeep's side door. Reaching speeds of 35 to 40 mph, Wade sideswiped a white Honda Civic and then rear-ended another vehicle, according to CHP officials.

Spears was able to force the Jeep's steering wheel to the right, causing the right front wheel to hit the right-side concrete bridge rail. After the Jeep's front axle broke, the vehicle came to a stop, CHP officials said.

Spears was taken to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital with injuries not considered to be life-threatening. He was treated and released.

After Wade was arrested, two adult passengers in the car were released and a child passenger was entrusted to Child Protective Services, according to the CHP. 

Wade was found to have three outstanding warrants out of Contra Costa County, CHP officials said.

"As most people who drive on our California roadways know, when you're stopped by any form of law enforcement, the best thing to do is pull slow to the right shoulder, keep your hands where we can see them and just do what the officer asks you to do," Jacobs said. 

"If you have questions, we'll be happy to answer your questions, but you've got to understand that the side of the road is a very dangerous place to be and obviously this situation could've been very deadly," she said.

Wade is being held without bail. She's expected to return to court May 11 for a bail hearing.