Local News

Man Pleads Guilty to Killing Mo-Ped Passenger

Posted April 28, 2008

— A Raleigh man who police say tried to avoid a DWI checkpoint and hit and killed a passenger on a mo-ped pleaded guilty Monday to several charges, including second-degree murder.

Richard Smart Jr., 44, also pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injuries, felony speeding to elude, hit and run with property damage and driving with a revoked license.

Sentencing is scheduled for Tuesday morning.

Investigators said Smart fled the July 29 checkpoint at Legend Road and U.S. Highway 401 in Garner and led authorities on a chase on U.S. Highway 70.

Authorities said his vehicle was going about 100 mph when it hit the bike, which flew 45 feet into the air, killing Christopher Gonzalez-Guittierez, 25, of Raleigh. The mo-ped's driver, Jesus Gonzales Orozoco, was seriously injured.

Police said Smart continued on and hit another car before fleeing on foot. U.S. Marshals arrested him at a Holiday Inn Express in Dunn a few days later.

Smart had been convicted twice for drunken driving, and his license had been revoked about a month before the crash.

Friends said Gonzalez-Guittierez was working in the United States to help his wife and young son in Mexico.


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  • ddckas Apr 29, 2008

    I believe you should also take into account the family of my brother. I have been hurt by all these comments. I still have a brother (the only brother I have I might add) that I love. Kathy Smart

  • ddckas Apr 29, 2008

    Stop talking about my brother.

  • ddckas Apr 29, 2008

    Please stop talking about my brother like this. Don't you have any feelings for the family? You need to go and clean up your own back yards before you throw stones. I think you are horrible for being able to post this. My brother is a human being and a good person. Stop your comments. You don't know all the circumstances. Kathy Smart

  • Adelinthe Apr 29, 2008

    Plead Guilty = Lighter Sentence

    I hope this equation doesn't work in this case because this man was like driving a loaded gun once he took a drink before driving it.

    He should be charged with 1st degree murder because of what he did and his previous infractions. He fully knew and understood the risks and did it anyway.

    Praying for the loved ones of his victims.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • Mr. Middle of the Road Apr 29, 2008

    The answer to this kind of stuff is tough. It has to go beyond locking people up or taking away their driving priveleges. That is only closing the barn door after the cows have escaped. Society needs to quit making the over consumption of alcohol socially acceptable. We get bombarded with liquor ads and it ismade to look so cool and inviting. People think that they cannot entertain or enjoy life without it. We wink when someone gets intoxicated and think its cute. Well, its not cute. It sickening. I am not advocating prohibition but I think we all need to rethink where alcohol fits into our lives.

  • that was easy Apr 28, 2008

    Went to the hearing today for Smart. While he did plead guilty to all of the mentioned charges, the ADA will only be prosecuting him for 2nd degree murder. Look for him to get between 25 and 35 years, depending on the aggravating circumstances.

    He has quite a record and is in now for habitual impaired driving. Never learned his lesson. It's a shame it came down to this...

  • TheAdmiral Apr 28, 2008

    Fella wasn't too smart...

  • Lit Apr 28, 2008

    A human being died as a direct result of this man's actions (specifically drunk driving). All other details are trivial. It'll be interesting to see what his sentence will be (probably light as feathers, tyical for these cases).

  • moonpie Apr 28, 2008

    Lock him up and throw away the key...

  • VT1994Hokie Apr 28, 2008

    For all of you who wrote about illegal immigrants. Yes, I do dislike that we have those among our state. But, in this case some of you need to read this story all-the-way-through. This is about a person that was intoxicated. Vehicle over 100 miles per hour.

    Why can't some of you read before you make a comment? I am losing a little more faith in this GOLO thing. Some people on here write about stuff that has no relevance to the real topic or story. I see this every day. Especially those Duke and Carolina deals with coaches and players.

    I just wish that WRAL would do a better job in screening this stuff.

    Some people need to exchange telephone numbers, and meet and solve some of your problems. Some of you are wasting time for readers looking for some quality information.