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Hit-and-run driver was speeding before killing bicyclist in Buckeye, court docs say

Fernando Ramos, 39, is facing manslaughter charges following the collision in Buckeye.
Fernando Ramos, 39, is facing manslaughter charges following the collision in Buckeye.(Arizona's Family)
Published: May. 24, 2022 at 3:44 PM MST
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BUCKEYE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — A man was speeding when he hit and killed a bicyclist and then drove off in Buckeye on Saturday. It happened just after 6 a.m. near the intersection on Jackrabbit Trail near Beloat Road, which is just north of Gila River. At least one witness called 911 after seeing a pickup truck driver strike a bicyclist and then drive away without ever stopping. Emergency responders arrived and the victim was pronounced dead. He has been identified as 60-year-old George Cooper.

Based on witness reports, officers began searching for a tan Chevrolet Avalanche pulling an empty flatbed trailer. Soon after, a Maricopa County Sheriff’s deputy spotted a truck matching the description about 10 miles away from the crash scene. The deputy also noticed frontend damage and after stopping the pickup truck, saw what appeared to be smoke and steam rising from the engine compartment.

The driver admitted he had been involved in a crash and was taken into custody, according to court documents. He’s been identified as Fernando Ramos, 39, from Buckeye. During an interview with investigators, Ramos reportedly told them he didn’t see the bicycle until the last moment and couldn’t stop in time. According to the report, Ramos said he panicked following the collision and that’s why he drove away.

He was booked on manslaughter and hit-and-run charges. Investigators said Ramos claimed he was going around the speed limit, but a crash recreation showed he was going around 60 mph in a 45 mph zone. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office says Ramos previously served time for aggravated assault with a vehicle and has also been arrested in the past for DUI.