A Palmdale man pleaded not guilty Monday in San Fernando Superior Court to attempted murder and assault charges in connection with an Aug. 1 attack on a California Highway Patrol officer who stopped him on the Antelope Valley Freeway.
Former convict Ronald Arnett Coleman, 33, returns to court Sept. 19 for pretrial motions. He has been jailed since the attack on charges of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer, assault causing great bodily injury, resisting arrest and related offenses.
Police and prosecutors say Coleman attacked CHP Officer Mary Bonilla, 28, after she stopped his car, which was traveling about 85 m.p.h., on the Antelope Valley Freeway near Golden Valley Road.
Police say Coleman punched Bonilla in the face and grappled for the officer's gun. He also is charged with injuring a passerby who broke his wrist coming to the officer's assistance.
Bonilla, who works out of the CHP's Newhall station, received 16 stitches after the assault, which began when she tried to give Coleman a sobriety test. Police later found a gun on the passenger side of Coleman's car. Sheriff's deputies who questioned Coleman said he told them he struck the CHP officer because he thought she was going to shoot him. "She put her hand on her gun so I hit her," he said, according to court records.
Coleman, according to prosecutors, has four prior convictions dating to 1984--for receiving stolen property, possessing a gun as an ex-convict and possession of narcotics.