Local News

Man gets 25-year prison sentence for mo-ped death

Posted April 29, 2008

— The Raleigh man who pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree murder and other charges in connection with a July 2007 hit-and-run death will spend a minimum of 25 years in prison.

A judge handed down a maximum 31-year prison sentence to Richard Smart Jr., who 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.

Police said Smart fled a July 29 DWI checkpoint at Legend Road and U.S. Highway 401 in Garner and led authorities on a chase on U.S. Highway 70 that eventually ended, killing Christopher Gonzalez-Guittierez, a passenger on a mo-ped.

Smart, 44, fled the scene and was arrested several days later at a hotel in Dunn.


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  • Local_NC_Native Apr 30, 2008

    Okay, "assuming" drunk drivers will NOT hit other people or vehicles UNLESS they're being chased, we make a law that the police are NEVER allowed to chase ANYONE...

    This will guarantee 99.9% of people who would go to jail if pulled over will just run from the police. Heck, I bet more than 50% of people committing minor infractions, like speeding, would also run...

    AWESOME - this would be a perfect solution for the overcrowded prison problem!

  • everybodyDUCK Apr 30, 2008

    I went to the NCDOC public access information system and looked this guy up. If I'm correct he had 8 DWIs before he was charged as an habitual offender. His first was in 1980 then 82,87,96,96,99,04,04. Also listed are several other offenses... its an interesting read.

  • AS Apr 30, 2008

    ddckas... I feel for the family and him too. Yes, it was not all his fault, the cops should be charged too because if they did nto chase him , this would not have happened, yes if he was not drunk this would not have happened. As somebody said-- thye are surprised this did not happen before-- means Robert was driving drunk before too but never killed anybody, so the CHASE SURE MADE THE DIFFERENCE. I know hard liners have no heart and cannot feel for the family. It is not just him in prison for 25 eyars but the whole family being punished and yes, the family who post the dear one is also suffering but truth is-- once anybody is dead we all can deal with it but cannot see our family member die everyday.

  • lovecarolinagutters Apr 30, 2008

    ddckas...I may not know all of the facts but I do know your brother. That in itself should say enough to you. I am sorry that this has happened to your family, but knowing Rick it really a wonder something like this hadn't happened sooner,

  • LoveOneAnotherAsChristTaught Apr 29, 2008

    The police certainly played a part in the death of the moped driver. I understand that it was unlawful for the guy to evade arrest, however, does that justify the police chasing him down, knowing full well that engaging in a high speed chase is tremendously dangerous....and I think more of an issue than the original offense of not stopping.

    When police chase people they put everyone at risk. I can think of few circumstances that warrant a full-speed chase.

    The police have too much power.

  • Tax Man Apr 29, 2008

    I do believe 25 years is a very long sentence, but I also believe in zero tolerance for driving under the influence - driving is a privilege, not to be abused - it is NOT a right. Once you screw up you should NEVER drive again - EVER, and not in any other state. No alcohol or drugs should be in your system when you drive any vehicle anywhere - NONE/ZERO - if you are found to have any measurable amount of alcohol or drugs (even legal drugs) in your system you should immediately lose your license permanently - no appeal, no excuse. Plus you should pay for any damage you caused by driving under the influence - fines, restitution, imprisonment - depending on the circumstances. If we had zero tolerance on DUI we would have very few cases to deal with and lots of people would be spared the agony of losing their loved ones to these thoughtless drivers. If you lose your license for DUI and get caught driving that should be a major felony and mandatory time!

  • ddckas Apr 29, 2008

    I am his sister and you don't know all the circumstances. Why don't you go crawl under a rock with your ignorant comments. All of you are a bunch of hypocrites with nothing better to do than enjoy suffering of people from every angle. Go find something else to do rather than talk ugly about other people you don't even know. Clean up your own dirty laundry.

  • colliedave Apr 29, 2008

    this is a death sentence. these laws need to be changed.

    how is this a death sentence? The guy will be 69 when he gets out and will still have a life to live. The guy he killed is dead and gone. I would have mandated this guy's picture be hung in his cell as a daily reminder of what he did,

  • chivegas Apr 29, 2008

    As one who rides a scooter to work (when weather conditions permit), I'm glad someone is focusing on the dangerous "cagers" out there.

    Cager = Angry commuter further enraged because they are caged up in their gas-guzzling car.

  • Vietnam Vet Apr 29, 2008

    "This is a death sentence. these laws need to be changed."

    And this should be a death sentence!!! The man murdered someone trying to evade arrest on another DWI charge. This was no simple accident and therefore should be no leniency in sentence. This situation demands the maximum sentence!