Local News

Man Pleads Guilty to Killing Mo-Ped Passenger

Posted April 28, 2008 8:30 a.m. EDT
Updated April 28, 2008 4:34 p.m. EDT

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Smart had been convicted twice for drunken driving, and his license had been revoked about a month before the crash.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