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Pena allegedly struck a Honda CRV on Rentar Plaza as Hamlet Cruz-Gomez exited the Metro Mall parking lot.
By Michael V. Cusenza
A Bronx man has been charged with causinga deadly collision on Metropolitan Avenue at the Metro Mall exit in Middle Village last week, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced Thursday.
Ramon Pena, 37, was arraigned last Wednesday night on a complaint charging him with murder in the second degree, manslaughter in the second degree, assault in the first degree, and felony assault in the second degree, grand larceny in the third degree, leaving the scene without reporting death, and various traffic violations. Pena was ordered held without bail and to return to court on July 10.
According to the charges, on Tuesday, June 30, Pena allegedly stole a box truck that was parked with keys in the ignition from 101st Avenue in Jamaica. The truck driver was making deliveries at approximately noon when the box truck was stolen. The commercial vehicle was then observed going eastbound on 101st Avenue through Richmond Hill. A delivery truck matching the stolen vehicle’s description was later seen striking in excess of 20 parked and moving cars—some of them occupied and causing injuries—along Humboldt and Metropolitan avenues in both Queens and Brooklyn.
Additionally, according to the charges, the driver of one of the cars struck by the box truck began to follow Pena as he proceeded eastbound on Metropolitan Avenue. The box truck, allegedly travelling up to 50 miles per hour, went through multiple red lights and drove on the wrong side of the street. Pena allegedly struck a Honda CRV on Rentar Plaza as Hamlet Cruz-Gomez exited the Metro Mall parking lot. The box truck T-boned the Honda, smashing in the driver’s side of the vehicle. Cruz-Gomez, 25, of the Bronx, was transported to Elmhurst General Hospital, where he went into cardiac arrest and died.
According to the charges, Pena allegedly jumped out of the box truck after the crash and ran on foot away from the area and into the nearby Metropolitan Subway Station. Responding cops pursued Pena into the station and apprehended him.
Pena allegedly does not have a valid driver’s license and does not have a driving history at all within the state of New York, Katz noted, before characterizing Pena’s death ride a “depraved driving spree.”
If convicted, Pena faces up to 25 years to life in prison.