Driver pleads not guilty in death of jogger

A Costa Mesa man pleaded not guilty Monday to driving drunk and killing a jogger in a Corona del Mar bicycle lane.

Robert Greaney, 23, denied one felony count of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and another felony count of driving under the influence of alcohol, causing bodily injury, in Orange County Superior Court. He also pleaded not guilty to possession of marijuana while driving with a sentencing enhancement for causing great bodily injury, according to court records.

Greaney was driving home from a beach party June 12 when he hit a jogger on East Coast Highway, just west of Morning Canyon Road, authorities said at the time.

Edward Salkin, 81, of Corona del Mar was declared dead at the scene just before 9:30 p.m., according to the Orange County coroner's office.

Greaney initially thought he had hit a box in the road as he was driving his Ford pickup truck along East Coast Highway, his attorney, Jeffrey Kent, said, adding that his client pulled over and began to help Salkin as soon as he realized he had hit a person.

"He's beside himself," Kent said. "It's a tragic situation."

Greaney doesn't remember weaving out of his lane into the bike lane, where Salkin was jogging, Kent said.

The defendant appeared intoxicated and smelled of alcohol when police arrived, according to a news release from the Orange County district attorney's office.

He is accused of having a blood-alcohol level of .12% — .08 is the legal limit – about two hours after the crash, the release stated.

Greaney was released from custody on $100,000 bail and immediately checked into Cornerstone of Southern California, a rehabilitation facility based in Tustin.

While Greaney doesn't drink to excess often, he "decided that alcohol and marijuana was not going to be part of his life anymore," Kent said.

Greaney appeared in court on Monday wearing a dark suit and tie. He stared down at his hands as he waited for the judge to call his case. Every so often his grandmother, who was sitting next to him, would look over and touch his hand.

The victim's family was not present in court.

Judge Robert Gannon Jr. ordered Greaney to remain in a Cornerstone residential facility until his pre-trial proceedings Aug. 8.

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