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Queens Chronicle

SW Queens: Guilty plea in Gibbons death

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Posted: Monday, April 23, 2012 8:52 pm | Updated: 2:29 am, Thu Oct 11, 2012.

The Brooklyn man accused of killing a Maspeth businessman in a hit-and-run accident last October faces up to seven years in prison after pleading guilty on Friday to criminally negligent homicide.

Peter Rodriguez, 37, also pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of a fatal hit-and-run in the Oct. 15 accident that killed George Gibbons, the 37-year-old owner of The Gibbons Home, a Maspeth tavern.

 Gibbons, who also worked as a DJ, was riding along the service road to the Long Island Expressway at about 6:50 a.m. when the livery car he was riding in was hit head-on by a 2002  Chrysler Sebring being driven the wrong way on the one-way street by Rodriguez.

The office of Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Rodriguez was speeding.

Gibbons, who was sitting in the rear seat, was thrown into the front seat by the impact and subsequently was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

The driver of the livery car was hospitalized with severe head, neck and back injuries.

Rodriguez’s passenger, who Brown said initially fled the scene, returned to the site of the wreck and also was hospitalized for head injuries.

A reward for Rodriguez’s arrest and conviction was offered during the one-month manhunt. He was captured in Connecticut on Nov. 15 by members of the U.S. Marshal’s Regional Fugitive Task Force following a tip to the NYPD’s Crimestoppers hotline.

“A local business owner tragically lost his life in a hit-and-run crash that also injured two other individuals,” Brown said in a statement issued by his office. “No amount of words can undo the damage or pain that this defendant has caused.”

Rodriguez pleaded guilty before Acting Supreme Court Justice Dorothy Chin-Brandt. She could give Rodriguez 3 1/2 to seven years when he is sentenced on May 7.

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