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Judge Orders Trial for Hit-and-Run Driver Who Turned Down ‘Reasonable’ Sentencing Offer

Judge Brendan Lantry turns down driver's request for mere probation for killing a delivery worker in 2022. The trial will start in January.

5:35 PM EST on December 6, 2023

Photo: Gersh Kuntzman|

Edgar Maeda-Luca is charged with killing Carlos Garcia-Ramos in 2022.

This was not a tragic "accident."

A Manhattan judge ordered an alleged hit-and-run to stand trial after his lawyer claimed the crash was just "an accident" and sought mere probation after the Manhattan District Attorney proposed a two- to six-year sentence for the leaving the scene of the fatal crash that killed Carlos Garcia-Ramos almost exactly one year ago.

Judge Brendan Lantry affirmed that the People's sentencing offer below the maximum seven years on the D felony was "reasonable" in ordering a trial for Edgar Maeda-Luca next month. And he appeared surprised when Maeda-Luca's lawyer, Anyika Nance, countered by asking the judge to grant her killer client a sentence of just probation.

Edgar Maeda-Luca chats with his lawyer Anyika Nance in court on Wednesday when a judge ordered him to stand trial.Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

Nance repeatedly called the crash an "accident" and a "tragedy" ... for the driver. Echoing words frequently offered by drivers who have killed, Nance described her client as a 25-year-old with a boundless future, and recounted how "remorseful and regretful" Maeda-Luca feels about the "accident."

Carlos Garcia-Ramos

Whatever happened on the night of Dec. 4, 2022, it was no accident. According to Assistant District Attorney Molly Presant, Maeda-Luca was driving on W. 24th Street behind Garcia-Ramos, who was delivering a pizza on a bicycle, when Maeda-Luca overtook Garcia-Ramos, then "crashed into the victim, launching the victim into the air such that the victim hit his head on an adjacent car and his skull was literally broken by the impact. He never regained consciousness and he died."

Maeda-Luca fled the crash, but the passenger in the car told him to stop the car. "He exclaimed 'What what did you just do?'" Presant added. That passenger got out of the car and call 911, while Maeda-Luca continued in his car, parked it, and fled to his apartment nearby.

"That's why we're recommending two to six [years]," Presant said, adding that Garcia-Ramos's siblings and his mother are "devastated by the loss of their son and brother."

"He was the main supporter of his mother, who lives in Mexico and she understandably is very distraught by what's happened," she added.

She also disputed Nance's contention that Maeda-Luca didn't flee, but merely went to his apartment nearby "in a state of shock."

"Again, Your Honor, this is this is deeply tragic," she said, claiming that Maeda-Luca has no criminal record — which is technically true, though he was arrested for drunk driving, Presant said. Streetsblog also determined that Maeda-Luca's car had been slapped with six speed-camera violations and one red light ticket in the 17 months before the crash.

"If we went to trial," she added, "it would be clear that our argument that he fled the scene is accurate."

That's when Lantry spoke resolutely.

"And you will be able to," he said. "I make an offer [of sentencing] when the People are being unreasonable in their prosecution or their offer, and I don't believe the People are being unreasonable. So I am not making an offer in this matter."

Afterwards, Martin Garcia, the victim's brother, said he was angered that Nance sought to downplay his family's pain in favor of boosting her client's remorse and potential.

"We're the ones with remorse," Garcia said. "My brother had potential and a future, too. I'm angry about that."

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