It has been more than nine months since the Aug. 29 crash in which Woods’ pickup truck veered across Indianapolis Avenue at Everglades Lane and instantly killed Oates, then smashed through a concrete wall, according to authorities.
A Feb. 13 affidavit filed by Huntington Beach police to justify a search warrant said Woods was text messaging in regard to a drug deal about the time of the collision.
It also stated that preliminary testing showed he may have had opiates in his system when the crash took place.
Woods’ legs were crushed in the crash, his lawyer Scott B. Well said in court while asking for low or no bail.
Woods has gone through four surgeries and faces several more in hopes of walking again, he added.
Well said jails wouldn’t be able to properly house someone going through those treatments.
But the judge denied his request, and allowed Woods to be released on $100,000 bail, the standard amount for the charges he faces.
Woods had not been in jail before the trial.
In an interview, Well called the “not guilty” pleas standard practice.
“It’s standard that the attorney enter a not guilty plea until we have the opportunity to review the evidence and have a meaningful discussion with the district attorney and judge,” he said.
Oates’ grandfather Gary Oates said he expected Woods to plead not guilty as a matter of course, but seeing Woods for the first time packed an emotional wallop.
“My wife found out about coming down here yesterday after seeing the news,” he said. “She didn’t want to come; she was afraid it would give her nightmares. I guess we’ll see now.”
Woods’ family would not speak to reporters, but they issued a statement through Wells: “Jeffrey Woods’ family wishes to offer our sincerest condolences to the Oates family in the wake of this tragedy. We think of them daily and pray that they are able to find some measure of comfort and peace.”
A preliminary hearing for Woods will be Aug. 11 in which the judge will decide whether there’s enough evidence to go to trial.
MICHAEL ALEXANDER may be reached at (714) 966-4618 or at michael.alexander@ latimes.com.