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Hudson Valley

Hit and run driver pleads guilty to manslaughter, leaving the scene

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Albany/HV: Hit and run driver pleads guilty to manslaughter, leaving the scene
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The Delmar man arrested in connection with a fatal hit and run in Albany last February has pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter and leaving the scene of an incident without reporting. Our Lori Chung has more on today's plea.

ALBANY, N.Y. -- "It's satisfactory," said Mark Carter. "Other than that we're going to miss him."

Loved ones welcome some measure of justice for Rozell Whitehead after Ian Eckardt-Rigberg pleaded guilty in the hit and run that killed him.

"I'm glad he's doing some time and not a lot of time, but doing some time so when he does grow out of his adolescence, he'll be a lot less reckless," said Carter.

Eckardt-Rigberg, 20, admitted to one count of second degree manslaughter and one count of leaving the scene of an incident without reporting. Last February, troopers tried to pull him over for speeding on I-90, but he took off, exiting the highway at Henry Johnson Boulevard in Albany, where Whitehead, 53, was crossing the street. Eckardt-Rigberg struck the victim and kept going. He later reported to Bethlehem Police that his car was involved in an unrelated accident.

"Very lovable person, very lovable," said Carter of Whitehead, and "very peaceful."

At Taysha Florist where Whitehead worked off and on, Carter, the owner and family friend, says everyone's hope is to keep Whitehead's memory alive.

A plaque will be placed at the spot where Whitehead died as a tribute that can withstand time and the elements.

"We don't want him forgotten that quick and that easily."

Eckardt-Rigberg was driving with a restricted license when the accident happened because of previous traffic infractions, including speeding. He faces between three and a third to 10 years in prison when he's sentenced next month.

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