Bronx man sentenced for hit-and-run killing of young father in Middle Village: DA

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A Bronx man could spend more than two decades in prison for causing a fatal collision during a 2020 hit-and-run that killed a young father in Middle Village.

Ramon Pena, 39, on Sept. 28 was sentenced to up to 22 years in prison by Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder after he pleaded guilty to manslaughter and leaving the scene of an incident on Sept. 13, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

Pena, of Albany Crescent in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx, was behind the wheel of a stolen box truck on Metropolitan Avenue at the Metro Mall exit at noon on June 30, 2020. Pena stole the vehicle on 101st Avenue in Jamaica, after a delivery driver left the keys in the ignition, according to the charges. Pena started driving the stolen box truck in an unsafe manner through several neighborhoods in Queens and Brooklyn, leaving a path of destruction in his wake by striking approximately 20 parked and moving cars along the way.

Katz said an eyewitness reported seeing the box truck traveling upwards of 50 miles per hour, running red lights and driving on the wrong side of the street. At around 1 p.m., Pena was seen running a red light at the intersection of Rentar Plaza and Metropolitan Avenue when he slammed into the driver’s side of a black Honda CR-V, operated by Hamlet Cruz-Guzman, whose daughter was born just a week earlier.

Pena proceeded to jump out of the stolen box truck and run into the nearby Metropolitan subway station, where he was apprehended by police from the 104th Precinct in Ridgewood. EMS responded to the scene and rushed the 25-year-old victim to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead.

“The defendant left a trail of destruction that culminated in a deadly collision when a young man was tragically killed as a result of the defendant’s reckless driving,” Katz said. “Every individual who gets behind the wheel of a vehicle bears the moral and legal responsibility to do so safely. The senseless mayhem that the defendant caused is unacceptable. He has now been held accountable for his actions and will serve time in prison as imposed by the court.”

Justice Holder sentenced Pena to seven to 22 years in prison.