BULLHEAD CITY – A second-degree murder charge is dismissed in a proposed plea agreement involving a traffic fatality in Bullhead City. Eidy Ruiz, 24, Bullhead City, pleaded guilty Jan. 12 to leaving the scene of an accident involving injury or death.
The Bullhead City man concedes he was driving a Corvette on Highway 95 that struck a pedestrian at about 6:46 p.m. on July 28 in the vicinity of Riverview Dr. David Arnold, 59, was transported to Western Arizona Regional Medical Center, and he later died following life flight to a Las Vegas hospital.
Deputy Mohave County Attorney Jeff Haws told Mohave County Superior Court Judge Derek Carlisle that witnesses and police estimate Ruiz was driving in excess of 100 miles per hour at the time of the collision. He said Arnold lost a lower limb at the scene and that front end damage and blood was evident when police seized the Corvette that was parked in a garage after the defendant fled.
Defense attorney Michael Bernays objected that Haws was going overboard in presenting unnecessary detail to try to influence and prejudice the Court in a bid to enhance punishment. He said his client’s admission that he was driving at the time of the collision and failed to remain at the scene was sufficient factual basis, and that Haws was attempting to ??“try the case” in the change of plea hearing.
Bernays said the extra detail could be saved for sentencing when he’ll ask the Court to consider that Arnold was jaywalking and high on methamphetamine when struck and fatally injured.
Terms of the deal provide great discretion for Judge Carlisle. He can impose as little as probation and no further jail, or as much as ten years in prison.
Carlisle held off accepting the plea proposal, saying he wants to review case material and hear more given that a murder-related charge is being dismissed. He scheduled a March 15 sentencing hearing.