Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Teen Charged With Vehicular Homicide

As the result of a careful and thorough investigation, Riccardo Blas Rivas II, 17, was arrested Wednesday and charged with vehicular homicide in connection with an eight-vehicle accident that left a woman dead in North Naples in May.

Rivas, 2311 Pinewoods Circle, turned himself in to the Collier County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday after a warrant for his arrest was issued by state prosecutors charging him with vehicular homicide, a second-degree felony, in the death of Tracy S. Cate, 32.

Rivas also faces seven counts of reckless driving with property damage. The charge is a first-degree misdemeanor.

The accident occurred at around 10:45 a.m. near the intersection of Pine Ridge Road and Whippoorwill Lane in North Naples on May 23.

Deputies say Rivas was behind the wheel of a silver 2003 Chevrolet Z71 pickup that was traveling eastbound on Pine Ridge Road at a high rate of speed as he approached the intersection at Whippoorwill Lane. Rivas failed to stop for a red light at the intersection, striking or causing impacts to seven other vehicles that were stopped or slowing down to stop for the light.

The impact caused a deadly chain of events resulting in Cate’s death and injuries to several other motorists.

Cate, also eastbound on Pine Ridge Road, was stopped at the light when the rear of her orange 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt was struck by Rivas’ pickup. She died at the scene.

The Sheriff’s Office’s investigation found that Rivas failed to maintain a single lane of traffic, was inattentive and was speeding at the time of the crash, according to the arrest report. Rivas was operating his vehicle at speeds of 71 mph to 73 mph in a 45-mph zone prior to and at the time his vehicle struck Cate’s vehicle, the report said.

This investigation, like all of the investigations conducted by the Sheriff’s Office, was carried out fairly and impartially, said Collier County Sheriff Kevin J. Rambosk. The comprehensive collection of evidence and facts is integral to all investigations. While a thorough collection of all of the facts is time-consuming, it is absolutely necessary to ensure the integrity of the judicial process.