A Bronx man has been indicted on murder charges for a June hit-and-run crash that killed a man, District Attorney Melinda Katz announced Monday.
Ramon Pena, 37, of Albany Crescent was 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.
On June 30, Pena stole a box truck that was parked with keys in the ignition from 101st Avenue in Jamaica while the driver was making deliveries, according to the DA. The same truck was later seen striking in excess of 20 parked and moving cars along Humboldt and Metropolitan avenues in Queens and Brooklyn. A few drivers suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
Two drivers in cars struck by the truck began to pursue Pena as he continued going eastbound on Metropolitan Avenue. An eyewitness reported seeing the truck traveling upwards of 50 miles per hour, running red lights, driving on the sidewalk at times and driving on the wrong side of the street.
According to the charges, at the intersection of Rentar Plaza and Metropolitan Avenue, Pena ran through a red light and allegedly slammed into a Honda CR-V as the driver, Hamlet Cruz-Gomez, exited the Metro Mall parking area.
The 25-year-old victim’s car was T-boned and the entire driver’s side was smashed. Cruz-Gomez was transported to the hospital and died a short time later.
The DA said Pena allegedly jumped out of the truck following the collision and ran on foot into the nearby Metropolitan subway station, where police apprehended him.
“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.”
A GoFundMe page named “Hamlet Cruz-Gomez Funeral Costs” was started for the family on July 2.
It had raised $24,101 of its $30,000 goal as of Tuesday.
“Such a good boy did not deserve to die at the hands of a bandit, a person without a soul,” Cruz-Gomez’s sister-in-law, Angelica Pena, told the Daily News in early July. “Because his soul was so good ... My heart is broken. I don’t know how we’re going to deal with this.”
Cruz-Gomez was a radiology technician at Montefiore Hospital, who had self-isolated from his pregnant wife while working during the pandemic to protect her and their unborn daughter, the News said.
Pena was arraigned Monday before Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder, who remanded him and set a return date of Nov. 2. If convicted, Pena faces up to 25 years to life in prison.