A 37-year-old who went on a deadly driving spree in an allegedly stolen box truck earlier this week has been charged with several crimes including second degree murder, District Attorney Melinda Katz announced Thursday.
In addition to the murder charge, Ramon Pena, of Albany Crescent in the Bronx, is also facing charges of second degree manslaughter, assault in the first degree, felony assault in the second degree, third degree grand larceny, leaving the scene without reporting death and a handful of traffic violations. Pena is being held without bail and will return to court on July 10.
If convicted, Pena faces up to 25 years to life in prison.
“This is a tragic incident that was caused by the alleged criminal actions of this defendant, who is accused of stealing a truck and causing extensive property damage to dozens of cars,” Katz said. “This depraved driving spree only came to an end after a horrible collision that killed a young man in his 20s. The defendant is in custody and faces very serious charges.”
Pena is accused of stealing a box truck that was parked with its keys in the ignition on 101st Avenue in Jamaica around noon on June 20, the DA said. After allegedly stealing the vehicle, Pena drove eastbound on 101st Avenue, hitting at least 20 parked and moving cars as he made his way along Humboldt and Metropolitan Avenues, according to Katz.
Pena’s damaging driving spree came to a fatal end, when he collided with the driver of a Honda CRV at the intersection of Rentar Plaza and Metropolitan Avenue. The driver of the Honda, Hamlet Cruz-Gomez, 25, was taken to Elmhurst hospital, where he went into cardiac arrest and died, according to the DA.
Pena hopped out of the truck after the crash and ducked into the Metropolitan Avenue subway station, where he was later arrested by NYPD officers.
Katz alleges that during his trip, Pena drove around 50 miles per hour, blew through multiple red lights and drove on the wrong side of the street. He allegedly does not have a valid drivers license nor does he have a driving history within the state of New York, according to the authorities.