Driver admits hitting, killing Albany pedestrian

Friday, February 1, 2013
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Ian Eckhardt-Rigberg
Ian Eckhardt-Rigberg

— A driver who killed a pedestrian and then tried to create an alibi with police in another town pleaded guilty to manslaughter today.

Ian Eckardt-Rigberg, 20, of Delmar, also pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident. Both pleas are for felonies.

He will be sentenced on Mar. 28. He faces 3 1/3 to 10 years in prison in addition to a concurrent prison term of 2 to 6 years.

The incident began nearly a year ago when police saw Eckardt-Rigberg speeding on I-90. Instead of pulling over in response to the police, Eckardt-Rigberg raced to the Henry Johnson Boulevard exit and ran a red light to get away.

There, pedestrian Rozell Whitehead was crossing the street. Eckardt-Rigberg crashed into him.

Whitehead was thrown onto the hood of the car and smashed into the windshield before falling to the pavement. He died of multiple internal injuries.

But Eckardt-Rigberg didn’t stop. He drove on to the town of Bethlehem and told police there that he had accidentally struck property in town and wanted to report it.

Police quickly determined that he had actually caused the hit-and-run death in Albany.

Police said Eckardt-Rigberg had restrictions on his license that prohibited him from driving that night, possibly explaining why he fled from police on the highway.

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