OAKLAND -- A Bay Area law student appeared in court on two felony charges Monday after police said she struck and seriously injured an innocent 25-year-old Oakland man early Saturday morning while she was trying to run down a group of vandals who attacked her after she complained about their graffiti on a public library.

James Roda was not part of the group of alleged vandals and had the misfortune of crossing a downtown street as the woman driving the Mercedes barreled toward the group after they punched her, stole her cellphone and tagged her car. The driver, Meghan Anne Zato, 26, of Oakland, was arrested and posted bail; she appeared in court to face charges Monday.

Roda has already had surgery for severe head injuries and brain swelling and faces a lengthy recovery. In a Facebook posting calling for help to pay his medical bills, a friend described him as "an amazing individual" who is "not just a friend -- he is family, loving people so unconditionally that he makes it a point to turn every situation into a happy one (and a memorable one.)"

"He's a funny guy," said Ramon Clemons, Roda's boss at the Original Red Onion restaurant in Alameda. "When he came to work, he came to work."

Police said the violence happened about 12:45 a.m. Saturday after Zato was asked to leave a bar on the block. She and a man were walking to her car parked across the street when they saw the taggers using markers to deface the library wall.

When the man told them they should not be doing that, he was confronted and pushed several times, police said.

Zato was standing outside her car and told the group she was going to call police. Police said someone in the group punched her at least twice in the face and either that person or another person in the group grabbed her cellphone away.

She got into her car which the group began rocking and tagging, police said before she was able to drive off.

Police said she made a U-turn on 14th Street before driving down the wrong side of the street at the group. Roda was in the middle of the street when he was struck and knocked about 100 feet. His head cracked the windshield, authorities said. Zato drove away but was followed by witnesses who boxed her car in until police arrived and arrested her.

Zato, a law student at Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, was charged Monday with assault with a deadly weapon with an enhancement clause of causing great bodily injury and felony leaving the scene of an accident. She could also be charged later with driving under the influence once the results of a blood test are known, authorities said.

Police said Zato recounted to investigators about being attacked but claimed she did not intend to strike anyone with her car. Witnesses told investigators that the Mercedes was intentionally being driven toward the group of taggers, who had defaced a wall outside the main Oakland Public Library in the 100 block of 14th Street.

Her attorney, Richard Meier, said Zato worked hard for him for more than a year. Meier said Zato "very politely" asked the group to not deface library and "that set them off."

"What do we do in Oakland? Do we keep our mouth shut and allow this to go on?" he asked. "I guess we just keep our mouth shut and give Oakland over to graffiti vandals."

Meier questioned the police version of events, saying he thinks Roda was associated with the vandals. But he said his client did not intend to harm anyone.

Roda "wishes it never happened, we wish it never happened," Meier said.

Zato, who was out on $35,000 bail, was arraigned Monday afternoon in Oakland. The bail amount was raised to $90,000 upon the urging of the Alameda County District Attorney's Office. Zato was given 48 hours to post bail and will return for a hearing at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Anyone interested in donating to Roda's medical fund should visit https://www.wepay.com/donations/help-support-james.