Fatal Hit-and-Run Suspect Was Convicted Twice of Drunken-Driving
Posted July 30, 2007 7:10 p.m. EDT
Garner, N.C. — A man wanted for allegedly fleeing a DWI checkpoint and killing a man along U.S. Highway 70 was convicted twice for driving drunk and had his license revoked last month, authorities said Monday.
Authorities said Richard Anderson Smart Jr., of Raleigh, 44, led authorities on a chase after fleeing the checkpoint at Legend Road and U.S. Highway 401 early Sunday morning.
Investigators are still looking for Smart, who is charged with one count of voluntary manslaughter, one count of felony speeding to elude arrest, one count of misdemeanor hit-and run and one count of driving while license revoked.
Authorities said Smart was going nearly 100 mph before he hit Christopher Gonzalez-Guittierez, 25, of Raleigh, and Jesus Gonzales Orozoco, 25, on U.S. Highway 70. They were riding on a moped.
Smart then attempted to exit off onto Vandor Springs Road when he struck a 2001 Honda in the intersection. His vehicle then went down an embankment, and he fled on foot, police said.
Guittierez, the passenger on the moped, died instantly when the impact of the crash sent the moped flying 45 feet into the air. Orozoco was seriously injured and listed Monday afternoon in the intensive care unit of WakeMed.
"This should not have happened, and that's why we're going with a more aggressive charge of manslaughter, versus felony hit-and-run," said Lt. Bob Stevens with the Garner Police Department.
"He was wrapped around the tree, still in a riding position on the moped, if you can believe that," said John Finger, who was driving his car in front of the moped when he heard the crash. "And he was still breathing when we found him."
"The driver never saw the moped. The moped never saw the driver, and I never saw the driver until he was in front of me," Finger said.
David Morales, a friend of Guittierez, said Guittierez worked in the United States to help his wife and 1-year-old son in Mexico. Morales said he is very sad about what happened and that it was not fair.
Garner police ask that anyone with information about Smart's whereabouts to contact the police department at 919-772-8810 or Crime Stoppers at 919-226-2746.