Sunday, August 15, 1999

Hit-skip driver gives up

Police say man, 20, remorseful

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Ricardo Meadows
        Remorseful about his involvement in a fatal hit-and-run accident and weary of being on the run, 20-year-old Ricardo Meadows surrendered to police Saturday morning, Traffic Section Sgt. Bill Coombs said.

        The Madisonville resident admitted that he drove his Chevy Celebrity out of an alley and onto Sixth Street near the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Tuesday, striking 75-year-old Nicholas “Nick” Barbas and three teen-agers, Sgt. Coombs said.

How it happened
        Mr. Barbas, a longtime resident of the Drop Inn Center in Over-the-Rhine, died Wednesday night. A 15-year-old girl from Sayler Park was hospitalized but now is home, as are a 15-year-old North Fairmount girl and a Westwood boy, 14, who suffered minor injuries.

2 held in jail
        “I think (Mr. Meadows) probably got tired of running, and I think his conscience got the best of him,” Sgt. Coombs said. “He expressed remorse for the guy killed.”

        And he knew that there were outstanding warrants for his arrest on charges of involuntary manslaughter, aggravated vehicular assault and leaving the scene of a fatal accident. Mr. Meadows is to be arraigned Monday in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court.

        He was identified as the driver of the car by the man police think rode alongside: Orlando Sattiewite, who was arrested Thursday in an aggravated burglary of a Kremer Road home, on the same remote East Westwood neighborhood block where the Celebrity was abandoned.

        A barrette was wedged under a windshield wiper and athletic shoe marks were obvious on the damaged car. Forensic tests will reveal whether they match items belonging to the injured teens.

        Both men were being held at the Hamilton County Justice Center on Saturday night.

        Although Mr. Meadows would not identify his passenger, Sgt. Coombs said he expects to charge Mr. Sattiewite in that crime early this week.

        Witnesses said that as the car sped away and its victims lay injured on the ground, the passenger pulled a temporary license plate out of the rear window to avoid identification.

        When Mr. Sattiewite was arrested on the burglary charge, “he led us to the driver. He knew too much. ... Our gut feeling deep inside is that he's the passenger, but I don't have anything to charge him with yet,” Sgt. Coombs said.

        Although Mr. Meadows admitted to driving the car, he told police a different version of the events.

Anonymous tips
        “He tried to say that he had some mechanical failure on his car that caused this. But I don't know how you have a mechanical failure cause you to hit three people and then ... drive all the way to (East) Westwood without any problems,” Sgt. Coombs said.

        Police credit anonymous Crime Stoppers hot line callers with providing valuable information — which doesn't always happen in a hit-and-run case.

        “It seems like in society in general, when somebody kills somebody with a car, it's not taken as seriously as when somebody kills somebody with a gun,” Sgt. Coombs said.

        “We call those homicides and these accidents. But it's exactly the same crime,” he said. “It's homicide with a car.”


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