Hit-and-run driver sent to jail; Fight for justice not over

I-Team

CLEVELAND (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-Team watched Monday as a local hit and run driver went to jail.

But, the victim’s fight for justice is not over.

The case began last January in North Olmsted. Richard Ruscin heard a crash outside his home, so he went out to take a look.

Then, Christopher Garcia came by driving a Hummer, hit him, and took off.

Garcia faced a judge in Cuyahoga Co. Court, and he said, “I apologize” He added,  I’m really sorry…It was never my intention to hit anybody…”

Judge Tim McGinty sentenced him to 4 ½ months in jail. That will be about the same amount of time Richard Ruscin spent in the hospital and rehab after he got hit.

Outside court on Monday, Rucsin said, “All I can say is he’s ruined by life. This accident has  destroyed me.”

He added, “I don’t have a leg to stand on anymore. I can’t work anymore. I’m unproductive.”

But, the criminal court justice does not mark the end of the case.

Ruscin has filed a civil lawsuit against that hit and run driver and the company behind his car insurance. The suit aims to cover hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills.

Attorney Joseph T. Burke said, “It wasn’t just what happened with the accident, but beforehand. He’d been drinking. He drove around an accident scene in the the wrong lane. And, what kind of person leaves a lifeless body in the street?”

In court, Garcia denied he’d been drinking.

He also asked for mercy. He wanted his jail term put off until after the holidays. Instead, the Judge had deputies take him into custody as the hearing ended.

The civil lawsuit is just beginning to move through the court system.

So, the full price to pay for what happened may not have been determined yet.

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