Suspect in firefighter attack declared intent to ‘run him over,’ prosecutors say 

Stand by your thug.

The girlfriend of the man charged with ramming into a firefighter with a sport utility vehicle in the Richmond district went to extreme lengths to protect her man from the law, prosecutors alleged Thursday.

Click on the photo at right for a map of where the events occurred.

During a bail hearing for 22-year-old hospital clerical worker Alyssa Tejada, Assistant District Attorney Omid Talai laid out “numerous” steps the defendant took to cover up the alleged Thanksgiving morning hit-and-run.

The Belmont woman’s boyfriend, Eduardo Esquivel, 22, of South San Francisco, is accused of running over 29-year-old Cal Fire firefighter and Iraq War veteran Albert Bartal with a rented SUV. The attack occurred two blocks from where Bartal and Esquivel got into a fight at a Jack in the Box restaurant at 11th Avenue and Geary Boulevard, police said.

Bartal, a single father of a 4-year-old, remains in critical condition.

In court Thursday, Tejada and Esquivel avoided making eye contact, and at one point she held back tears.

Tejada had rented from Enterprise the 2011 Mazda CX-7 that was allegedly used in the attack. She needed the vehicle while her car was being serviced, Talai said.

After the attack, Talai said Tejada extended the rental by a week and ordered parts from a Mazda dealership to fix front-end damage.

When she went to pick up the parts five days after the attack, Talai said Tejada asked whether the dealership planned to call Enterprise about the repairs.

Tejada’s attorney, Jai Gohel, told police where to find the SUV. Talai said Tejada only gave up the vehicle’s location because police had told her they were aware of the cover-up.

Gohel said his client might have initially considered covering up the damage, but “in the end did the right thing” by telling police where to find the vehicle.

Police recovered the SUV where Tejada had abandoned it in the Bayview, Talai said. The keys were left inside, indicating Tejada hoped someone would steal it, he said.

Gohel asked Superior Court Judge Samuel Feng on Thursday to release his client from jail on her own recognizance, or reduce the $200,000 bail, which she can’t afford. He described her as a “hard-working” and “respected” worker at UC San Francisco with no criminal history, adding that she could lose her job if she remains in jail.

But Feng kept Tejada’s bail at $200,000, saying she took too long to come forward to police.

“The police station is open 24/7,” Feng said.

Esquivel and Tejada are expected to return to court today to set a date for a joint preliminary hearing.

Threats allegedly made

Seething after a brawl in a Richmond district restaurant, Eduardo Esquivel brazenly announced his intention to run over an off-duty firefighter before carrying out the hideous attack with a sport utility vehicle early Thanksgiving morning, a prosecutor alleged Thursday.

The accused proclaimed, “I’m going to f--- him up. I’m fitting to go run him over,” Assistant District Attorney Omid Talai said at a bail hearing for Esquivel’s girlfriend, Alyssa Tejada, who is charged with attempting to cover up the crime.

Talai said video footage from inside the Jack in the Box on Geary Boulevard and 11th Avenue recorded Esquivel’s rant.

The 22-year-old South San Francisco man allegedly struck and critically injured Albert Bartal, 29, a firefighter and single father of a 4-year-old, with a rented SUV. Police have said the attack occurred after Esquivel and Bartal got into a fight in the fast-food eatery about 2:45 a.m.

The collision, which occurred at a Shell gas station two blocks from the restaurant, was captured on video surveillance taken from a nearby mortuary. Also, a witness recorded video on a cellphone of Esquivel hopping into the SUV before the attack, Talai said.

Bartal remains in critical condition, according to Talai.

Esquivel has pleaded not guilty to first-degree attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and torture. He remains in custody on $5 million bail.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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