Local News

Wednesday, Feb 26 2014 12:23 PM

Driver allegedly told investigators he didn't realize he'd run over estranged wife, daughter

BY JASON KOTOWSKI Californian staff writer jkotowski@bakersfield.com

Traven Duane Buchholz told police he didn't realize he'd first backed over and then driven forward over his estranged wife and 20-month-old daughter the night of Feb. 6, according to court filings that became available Wednesday.

He said he was too busy avoiding the baseball bat his wife's 16-year-old son used to smash the driver's side window of Buchholz's car, the police reports say.

Buchholz, 29, is being held on $1.2 million bail after pleading not guilty to charges including attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon other than a gun. His next court hearing is scheduled for March 14.

Police said they received a report of domestic violence and responded to the 10 block of Morrison Street at 10:39 p.m. They found the wife sitting in the street clutching her child.

Interviews with her, the son and a neighbor helped investigators piece together what happened.

Buchholz entered the wife's home through a broken window, grabbed the toddler and said he was taking the child with him, according to the reports. The wife argued with him and he gave the child back, but grabbed her purse and went outside.

The wife followed him with the child in her arms and, as he got into a black Nissan Altima, told him to return her purse, the reports say. She was walking behind the vehicle when Buchholz backed up, knocking her to the ground.

The reports say she held her daughter close to protect her as Buchholz continued backing up, dragging them into the road. The wife's 16-year-old son, who'd heard the argument and witnessed his mother get knocked over, grabbed a bat and ran to the car.

The wife said she screamed at Buchholz to stop. He shouted, "I don't give a (expletive deleted)," according to the reports.

The son also yelled at Buchholz to stop. The reports say he swung the bat and smashed the Altima's driver's side window as Buchholz drove forward and ran over the woman and child a second time.

Buchholz drove north on Morrison and left the area. The Altima was found abandoned at Loch Lomond Drive and Belle Terrace.

Police found Buchholz the following day and took him into custody. The reports say he at first denied driving the car, but after an hour of questioning admitted to investigators he had been driving and had "no idea" he'd run over his wife and child.

Both victims suffered moderate injuries including cuts and abrasions consistent with being dragged from a vehicle, the report say.

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