Killer Hit-and-Run Driver Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter in Staten Island

Here's the spot on Bay Street in Tompkinsville, where hit-and-run driver Marques Rios killed Heriberta Ramirez in June 2018. Image: Google Maps
Here's the spot on Bay Street in Tompkinsville, where hit-and-run driver Marques Rios killed Heriberta Ramirez in June 2018. Image: Google Maps

The Staten Island driver who was going 100 miles per hour when he mowed down a pedestrian back in June has pleaded guilty to the rare charge of manslaughter.

Marques Rios is facing 30 to 90 months in jail for killing Heriberta Ramirez on June 29, and then fleeing the crash site on Bay and Grant streets in Tompkinsville. Ramirez, 42, had been standing on a pedestrian island when Rios, driving southbound on Bay, tried to pass another car on the left at high speed. He lost control of his SUV and slammed into Ramirez, sending her flying 100 feet.

Assistant District Attorney Frank Prospero said Rios was going four times the 25 mph speed limit.

As Streetsblog reported last year, the spot where Ramirez was struck is a dangerous area where drivers often speed because of long intervals between traffic signals. The intersection of Grant and Bay streets, for example, does not have a marked crosswalk or a light.

Between January 2017 and December 2108, there were 83 crashes on just a 10-block stretch of Bay Street in Stapleton, resulting in injuries to two cyclists, five pedestrians and 10 motorists, plus Ramirez’s death.

Staten Island DA Mike McMahon hailed the conviction of Rios — and hinted at more.

“My office is committed to holding irresponsible drivers accountable for the bad decisions they make behind the wheel in order to keep our roads safe for all Staten Islanders,” he said.

(Update: After initial publication of this story, the DA’s office announced another guilty plea to a manslaughter charge by a driver who killed a pedestrian on Father’s Day last on Tompkins Avenue near Broad Street, also in Stapleton. The driver, John Rudder, was drunk when he killed David Bloomer, whose body ended up lodged in the windshield of Rudder’s 2015 Nissan Altima. Rudder is facing five to 10 years in prison when he’s sentenced on April 15.)

McMahon’s office said Rudder’s guilty plea is the sixth killer driver convicted on Staten Island over the last three years. (Streetsblog has requested more information to be able to put that number into context).

To put the carnage in perspective, there were 11,566 reported crashes on Staten Island last year — an average of 32 per day. They resulted in injuries to 62 cyclists, 374 pedestrians and 2,290 motorists.

Rios will be sentenced on July 10.

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