Driver ordered to stand trial in hit-and-run death


A May­fair man has been ordered to stand tri­al for the hit-and-run death of a Wissi­nom­ing wo­man last fall and for al­legedly ly­ing to po­lice who in­vest­ig­ated the crash.

Au­thor­it­ies claim that An­gel Roque, 28, of the 4800 block of Dever­eaux Ave., was high on co­caine and marijuana and driv­ing his pickup truck on the 5400 block of Tor­res­dale Ave. when he struck and killed ped­es­tri­an Joyce Kenny, 54, last Sept. 29.

The crash oc­curred at 6:45 a.m., As­sist­ant Dis­trict At­tor­ney John Doyle said dur­ing a March 13 pre­lim­in­ary hear­ing.

Roque al­legedly failed to stop at the scene. About a half-hour later, he called po­lice to re­port that his truck had been stolen.

At 8:10 that morn­ing, po­lice found the truck, a blue GMC with dis­tinct­ive sil­ver flame graph­ics on the hood and fend­ers, aban­doned on the 5900 block of Mil­nor St., a loop street about a half-mile from the ac­ci­dent scene and a mile from Roque’s house.

The truck had body dam­age con­sist­ent with the hit-and-run, as well as a broken win­dow and miss­ing ste­reo con­sist­ent with a stolen vehicle, al­though the steer­ing column was in­tact, Doyle said.

While sur­vey­ing the area of the re­cov­ery, Of­ficer Lu­is Cor­d­ero no­ticed that a nearby gen­tle­men’s club, Club Risqu&ea­cute;, had ex­ter­i­or sur­veil­lance cam­er­as. The busi­ness agreed to sur­render the re­cord­ings to po­lice ac­ci­dent in­vest­ig­at­ors.

The video showed someone driv­ing the truck east­bound on Comly Street, across Ta­cony Street and to­ward Mil­nor Street. It was sev­en minutes after the crash.

Sev­en minutes after that, the video showed a man fit­ting Roque’s de­scrip­tion walk­ing west­bound across Ta­cony Street to­ward Dever­eaux Av­en­ue, Doyle said.

Oth­er parts of Roque’s alibi began to un­ravel upon closer in­spec­tion, ac­cord­ing to the pro­sec­utor.

In mak­ing his stolen vehicle re­port, Roque al­legedly told po­lice that he left his job at a Delaware County re­pos­ses­sion com­pany at about 3 a.m. and drove home. He re­por­ted that he no­ticed the truck was miss­ing from out­side his house at about 7 a.m.

A co-work­er later told po­lice that he and Roque had ac­tu­ally worked un­til about 5:15 a.m. The co-work­er iden­ti­fied Roque as the man in the sur­veil­lance video. In court, the co-work­er test­i­fied that Roque called him on the morn­ing of the crash, warned him that po­lice would be con­tact­ing him and sug­ges­ted to him that the pair had left work at 3 a.m. The co-work­er thought Roque soun­ded like he was in­tox­ic­ated.

Des­pite the mount­ing evid­ence against him, Roque con­tin­ued to deny in­volve­ment in the fatal crash when in­ter­viewed by Of­ficer Tom O’Neill, Doyle said. To ex­plain his in­tox­ic­a­tion in the hours after the crash, Roque al­legedly claimed that he had taken Xanax after re­turn­ing home from work.

No al­co­hol was found in Roque’s sys­tem.

Po­lice ar­res­ted Roque on Oct. 12, two weeks after the crash.

O’Neill, Cor­d­ero, Of­ficer Wil­li­am Lack­man from the ac­ci­dent in­vest­ig­a­tion di­vi­sion, the co-work­er and a tox­ic­o­lo­gist all test­i­fied at last week’s hear­ing, as did a wo­man who saw the crash firsthand.

She and the vic­tim were stand­ing at a bus stop near Tor­res­dale Av­en­ue and Fra­ley Street when Kenny walked in­to the street. The wit­ness turned away for a mo­ment, heard a bang, saw the vic­tim tum­bling in the street and saw the blue pickup truck as it left the scene. She called 911 and tried to as­sist Kenny.

Doyle ac­know­ledged in court that Kenny was jay­walk­ing, but ar­gued that Roque’s in­tox­ic­a­tion con­trib­uted to his fail­ure to avoid the ped­es­tri­an. Ac­ci­dent in­vest­ig­at­ors de­term­ined that the truck was trav­el­ing at 39 to 49 mph. The speed lim­it there is 30.

De­fense at­tor­ney Guy R. Sci­olla re­portedly ar­gued that the pro­sec­u­tion failed to present evid­ence that Roque was be­hind the wheel when the crash oc­curred or that Roque had in­ten­tion­ally dam­aged the truck to fur­ther his claim that it had been stolen.

Mu­ni­cip­al Court Judge James M. DeLe­on ordered Roque to stand tri­al for hom­icide by vehicle while DUI (a second-de­gree felony), along with hit-and-run, mak­ing false re­ports and DUI. DeLe­on dis­missed a less­er felony charge of hom­icide by vehicle, along with the mis­de­mean­or tam­per­ing with evid­ence.

Ac­cord­ing to Doyle, the stand­ard hom­icide by vehicle (non-DUI) charge re­quires the pro­sec­u­tion to show that the driver com­mit­ted some oth­er neg­li­gent act that con­trib­uted to the fatal crash.

The writer of this news art­icle is not re­lated to the vic­tim in the case. ••


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