Guilty Plea In Gibbons Hit-Run
A 37-year-old Brooklyn man last week pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide and leaving the scene of an accident in the 2011 hit and run death of popular Maspeth bar owner, George Gibbons Jr.
Queens Criminal Court Justice Dorothy Chin-Brandt indicated she would put Peter Rodriguez behind bars for three and a half to seven years when he is sentenced on May 7.
Rodriguez was arrested in November 2011 in the hit and run collision that killed Gibbons, 37, who owned The Gibbons’ Home, a popular pub located on 69th Street in Maspeth.
Police at the Regional Fugitive Task Force arrested Rodriguez in Connecticut, ending a month-long manhunt that began when he fled the scene of the Oct. 15, 2011 collision that killed Gibbons.
Police said Gibbons closed the bar and was heading to his home in Middle Village in a livery cab at about 6 a.m. when the cab, heading east on the Long Island Expressway service road was hit, head-on near 58th Road by a Chrysler Sebring owned by Rodriguez’ girlfriend.
Rodriguez was behind the wheel of the Chrysler, driving at excessive speed in the wrong direction at the time of the impact, police said.
The cab driver and Rodriguez’ passenger suffered injuries, but survived the crash, police said.
Gibbons’ death sparked a massive campaign by politicians and community activists who pleaded with investigators to keep the case alive until the killer was in custody.
Neighborhoods from Maspeth to Long Island City were plastered with Wanted posters featuring Rodriguez’ photo and offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to his arrest and conviction.
Police at the Regional Fugitive Task Force were alerted to Rodriguez’ Connecticut whereabouts by an informant who called the NYPD Crime Stoppers Hotline, police said.
Rodriguez was originally charged with manslaughter, assault, criminally negligent homicide and a felony violation of leaving the scene without reporting at his arraignment at Queens Criminal Court where he was held without bail.
Rodriguez, who was facing 15 years in prison, if convicted, chose to plead guilty in a deal reached with Queens prosecutors.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said the sentence is the maximum allowed under the law.
“Hopefully, this guilty plea will serve as a measure of justice for a senseless death,” Brown said.
“No amount of words can undo the damage or pain that this defendant has caused.”