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Name: People v. Canela
Case #: A136371
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 03/11/2014

Appellant inflicted great bodily injury in the commission of a felony violation of Vehicle Code section 2800.4 where the injury occurred while evading a peace officer but before appellant drove in the direction opposite to traffic. Appellant robbed a victim at gunpoint and fled in a vehicle. When the police gave chase, he took off at a high rate of speed, ran stop lights, made a left turn through a red light and struck a pedestrian, severely injuring him. Appellant continued on, at one point driving in the wrong direction and into oncoming traffic, before he jumped out of the car and ran. He was ultimately apprehended and arrested. A jury convicted him of several crimes, including evading a peace officer and driving in the direction opposite to traffic (Veh. Code, § 2800.4). The jury also found that he inflicted great bodily injury while committing the offense (Pen. Code, § 12022.7, subd. (a)). Appellant contended that the enhancement did not apply to the section 2800.4 offense because the injury occurred before appellant drove opposite traffic. Held: Affirmed. Section 12022.7 provides a sentencing enhancement for a defendant who personally inflicts great bodily injury in the commission of a felony. Section 2800.4 makes it a crime to evade a peace officer and, while doing so, drive in the direction opposite to traffic. The wrong-way driving may occur at any time during the flight and need not be co-extensive with the entire flight. Here, appellant injured the pedestrian while attempting to evade an officer and during the same evasion he later drove in the wrong direction. Section 12022.7 applied even though he had not completed the crime by driving in the opposite direction of traffic before he struck the pedestrian. Appellant cannot avoid the enhancement by temporally segmenting his offense. This conclusion is further supported by the fact that “in the commission of” has been broadly construed in similar statutes.