July 2, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
A hit-and-run driver who went on a reckless driving spree that killed a 25-year-old man in Middle Village Wednesday – has been charged with murder and a series of other crimes.
Ramon Pena, 37, drove a 2006 Isuzu box truck around parts of Queens and Brooklyn — and struck over 20 cars — before slamming into Hamlet Cruz-Gomez, who was driving a 2019 Honda CRV.
Pena, who lives in Albany Crescent in the Bronx, fled the scene on foot but was arrested inside the Metropolitan Avenue M subway station a short time later.
He faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted of the charges, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced Thursday.
“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,” she said.
Pena, according to the complaint, allegedly stole a parked box truck that had been left with the keys in the ignition on 101st Avenue in Jamaica at around noon. The truck driver was making deliveries at the time.
He struck 20 cars while driving that were either parked or in motion on the route. Some of the collisions caused injuries. He also blew multiple red lights, drove at speeds of up to 50 mph and on the wrong side of the road.
Pena was traveling eastbound on Metropolitan Avenue when he slammed into Cruz-Gomez who was making a left turn from Rentar Plaza onto Metropolitan Avenue.
The box truck t-boned the Honda and smashed into the driver’s side of the vehicle at around 1 p.m.
Pena fled the scene on foot and was chased by police. He was arrested inside the Metropolitan Avenue M subway station a short time later. The station is about 200 feet away from the scene of the incident.
Cruz-Gomez, who is also from the Bronx, was transported to Elmhurst General Hospital where he went into cardiac arrest and later died. Cruz-Gomez was married and had a 5-week-old daughter, according to the New York Daily News. He worked as a radiology technician at Montefiore Hospital, in the Bronx.
Pena was charged with murder in the second degree, manslaughter in the second degree, assault in the first degree and felony assault in the second degree.
He was also charged with grand larceny in the third degree, leaving the scene without reporting a death and various traffic violations.
Pena does not have a driver’s license, Katz added.
Pena was remanded in custody without bail. He is set to return to court on July 10.
A Go-fund me has been set up to help the family of Cruz-Gomez cover the funeral costs.