Hit-and-run driver pleads not guilty in North Olmsted crash, victim speaks out

Hit-and-run driver pleads not guilty in North Olmsted crash, victim speaks out

ROCKY RIVER, Ohio (WOIO) - A hit-and-run driver accused of leaving a 70-year-old man seriously hurt in the street is pleading not guilty to the crime.

Christopher Garcia, 37, is charged with not stopping after an accident. He entered his plea during his arraignment in Rocky River Municipal Court Thursday.

North Olmsted police said he was the driver in a hit and run accident on Jan. 17.
North Olmsted police said he was the driver in a hit and run accident on Jan. 17. (Source: North Olmsted police)

North Olmsted police said Garcia stuck Richard Ruscin around 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, January 17 and then fled the scene.

North Olmsted police said the driver of this Hummer hit an elderly man on Jan. 17.
North Olmsted police said the driver of this Hummer hit an elderly man on Jan. 17. (Source: North Olmsted police)

According to police, Ruscin was inside his Clague Road home when a car hit a utility pole.

Ruscin ran outside and while he was helping the first driver police said he was struck by Garcia’s red Hummer.

Paramedics rushed Ruscin to the hospital and started blood transfusions because he was bleeding internally. He also broke his femur, pelvis and sternum.

Ruscin spoke with 19 News following Garcia’s court appearance Thursday. Ruscin said he left nursing home care on Friday, but still needs a walker to help him get around.

“It’s a tremendous step,” said Ruscin.

Police are questioning a 37-year-old Brook Park man.
Police are questioning a 37-year-old Brook Park man. (Source: North Olmsted police)

Ruscin reacted to the news of Garcia’s not-guilty plea. “Due to the fact that he left the scene of the accident, there was no reason for that. I’d stop for a dog. I was out there trying to help these other folks, to make sure that they were okay. As far as getting hit, I didn’t deserve that.”

Ruscin still has a long recovery ahead of him, but is optimistic.

Meanwhile, the hit-and-run case has been bound over to the Cuyahoga County Grand Jury and Garcia remains out on bond.

“I just hope that he doesn’t hit anybody else and damage anybody else’s life, because my life has been a miserable time for the past three months,” Ruscin said.

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