Driver pleads guilty to plowing large van into crowd outside Encinitas bar

Christian Davis at his arraignment, March 4, 2020
Christian Dwight Davis, now 31, appears at his arraignment at the Vista Courthouse in this file photo from March 4, 2020. He was accused of driving a U-Haul van into a crowd of people in front of a downtown Encinitas bar, seriously after he was thrown out of the bar for being too drunk.
(Hayne Palmour IV/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Christian Dwight Davis agreed to a term of 18 years in state prison for the March 2020 crash


The man accused of intentional plowing a U-Haul van into a crowd outside an Encinitas bar after he’d been kicked out two years ago pleaded guilty Wednesday to assault and drunken driving charges.

Christian Dwight Davis, 31 is expected to be sentenced in Vista Superior Court next month to 18 years in state prison, Deputy District Attorney Mike Still said.

Three people were injured — two bar patrons and one of the two bouncers who had removed Davis moments earlier from the bar known as Shelter, a bar and restaurant along South Coast Highway. The incident happened about 1 a.m. March 1, 2020.

Still said Davis had a blood alcohol content of .21 percent when his blood was taken a few hours after the crash. He said data downloaded from the van indicated Davis was going 32 mph at the time of the crash “with no braking.”

At Davis’ arraignment three days after the incident, Deputy District Attorney Kimberly Coulter said security had escorted Davis from Shelter because he was too drunk, and he threatened them.

“He told them, ‘You are gonna regret this. I’m gonna come back and kill you,’” she said.

Minutes later, Coulter said, Davis came “barreling down the sidewalk” in a U-Haul passenger van and plowed into the crowd.

She said two bar patrons were seriously injured, and the bouncer sustained a shoulder injury. In his plea deal, Davis admitted allegations that he’d caused great bodily injury to two of the victims.