Driver suspected in deadly hit and run in Central turns himself in to authorities

The Central Police Department arrested the driver believed to be responsible for a hit and run on Joor Road.
Published: May. 9, 2022 at 11:40 AM CDT|Updated: May. 9, 2022 at 8:58 PM CDT

CENTRAL, La. (WAFB) - The Central Police Department arrested the driver believed to be responsible for a deadly hit and run crash.

Juan Carlos Ramirez, 56, of Baton Rouge, turned himself in on Monday, May 9, in connection with a crash that claimed the life of Ryan Russell, 38, of Central. The crash happened on Joor Road on March 11.

Russell’s family and friends said they are glad justice is finally being served. The said he was a goofball, a talented artist, and a father.

“It’s hard to hear the cries, the what-ifs, and ‘Mom, he is not going to see me turn 16,’” said Heather Rhodus. “It is soul-crushing. That is something you can never prepare yourself for, ever.”

Rhodus shares a 15-year-old child with Russell.

RELATED: Central police locate truck linked to deadly hit and run on Joor Road

Rhodus said losing Russell to a hit and run is devastating,

“I just hate the fact that something senseless happened to him. Nobody deserves that,” added Rhodus.

Russell was driving at night on Joor Road when some tools fell out of the bed of his truck. He pulled his truck into the center lane and got out of this truck to pick up his tools. Police said that’s when the driver of a red four-door pickup truck hit him and drove off.

For weeks, Rhodus and her daughter have been waiting for the driver to come forward.

“You know you did wrong, you know you ruined people’s lives. I know you watched the news. I know he saw. Therefore, you know what you did. Why did it take you so long?” questioned Rhodus.

A license plate reader captured a picture of the vehicle Ramirez was allegedly driving that night. Central police located the pickup truck 48 hours later but wanted to make sure they had enough evidence.

“Within 48 hours, could I have obtained an arrest warrant for the vehicle? Absolutely,” said Central Assistant Police Chief Cliff Ivey. “The problem is that it does nothing. The plate reader at Joor and Greenwell Springs gave us a picture for the rear of the vehicle, along with the license plate.”

Investigators executed multiple search warrants before they arrested Ramirez.

“They worked hard on this because we want to make sure when we arrest someone, they go to jail for what they need to go to jail for, and they stay there,” said Central Police Chief Roger Corcoran.

Now, Russell’s family and friends will have peace of mind knowing that the man who is accused of killing their loved one has been arrested.

“I am thankful, his mom gets justice, his kids get justice, the mother of his kids get justice, his friends get justice … that’s all we wanted. Now, these kids know the man who destroyed their lives, now he is off the streets, and he cannot ruin anybody else’s,” explained Rhodus.

Ramirez is charged with negligent homicide and a felony hit and run. He was booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.

He has since been released on a $55,000 bond.

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