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Bronx Man Indicted on Murder Charges for Middle Village Hit-And-Run That Killed New Father

Metropolitan Avenue and Rentar Plaza, the scene of the fatal crash on July 30, 2020 (Google Maps)

Sept 22, 2020 By Allie Griffin

A Bronx man was indicted on murder charges in Queens Supreme Court Monday for a hit-and-run box truck crash that killed a new father in Middle Village this summer.

Ramon Pena, 37, was indicted by a Queens grand jury on a slew of charges stemming from the July 30 collision on Metropolitan Avenue at the Metro Mall exit in Middle Village.

Pena, of Albany Crescent in the Bronx, allegedly stole a box truck in Jamaica, went on a wild joy ride, hit upwards of 20 cars and then ran a red light, striking and killing a 25-year-old driver who had become a father of a baby girl just the week before.

He first stole the box truck, which was parked with the keys in the ignition, from a delivery driver in Jamaica. He drove into other areas of Queens as well as Brooklyn and later hit at least 20 parked and moving cars — some of them occupied — along Humboldt and Metropolitan Avenues, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said.

A few of the drivers suffered non-life-threatening injuries, Katz added.

Two drivers whose cars were struck by the box truck drove after Pena as he continued east on Metropolitan Avenue. Pena drove upwards of 50 miles per hour, ran red lights and drove on the sidewalk and the wrong side of the road at times during the chase, according to an eyewitness.

Pena then ran through a red light at the intersection of Rentar Plaza and Metropolitan Avenue and struck a Honda CR-V as it exited the Metro Mall parking lot. The car, driven by 25-year-old Hamlet Cruz-Gomez, was t-boned and the entire driver’s side was smashed, according to the charges.

Cruz-Gomez, of the Bronx, was rushed to the hospital and died shortly after, Katz said.

Pena fled the scene of the collision and ran on foot into the nearby Metropolitan subway station, where police cuffed him.

“In his wake, the defendant allegedly left a trail of destruction that culminated in a deadly collision. A young man – who became the father of a baby girl just a week earlier – was tragically killed,” Katz said. “This kind of senseless mayhem is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in Queens County.”

Pena is charged in a 32-count indictment with murder in the second degree, felony assault in the first, second and third degree, grand larceny in the third and fourth degree, leaving the scene of an accident without reporting death, criminal mischief in the fourth degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree and operating a vehicle without a valid driver’s license.

He is set to return to court on Nov. 2 and faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

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