MARTINEZ -- A Walnut Creek mechanic accused of fatally hitting a Santa Barbara math teacher with his truck while under the influence of medication plead not guilty Thursday in Contra Costa County Superior Court.

Hossein Tabrizi, 54, is charged with gross vehicle manslaughter while intoxicated for the death of 52-year-old Sherry Hicks, and intoxicated driving causing great bodily injury for injuring Hicks' 24-year-old daughter-in-law, Sheng Hahn, of Walnut Creek.

Tabrizi was under the influence of the anti-anxiety medication Lorazepam when he veered his pickup on to a sidewalk and hit the women in front of the Marriott Hotel on North Main Street in Walnut Creek on Sept. 8, prosecutors say.

Hossein Tabrizi (Walnut Creek Police Department)
Hossein Tabrizi (Walnut Creek Police Department) (Walnut Creek Police)

Shortly before the accident, Tabrizi was seen passed out behind the wheel at a downtown stoplight and was shook awake by a concerned resident before being pulled over by police. He was released after passing a sobriety test; the fatal crashed occurred just minutes later.

Tabrizi is being jailed in lieu of $250,000. He has a preliminary hearing scheduled for April 12.

Contact Malaika Fraley at 925-234-1685. Follow her at Twitter.com/malaikafraley.