A Baltimore City Department of Public Works employee charged in a fatal hit-and-run crash in 2016 was acquitted of charges by a jury on Wednesday afternoon, his attorney said.
Angelo Laprade, 37, had been charged with failing to remain on the scene of an accident and failing to provide information after running over and killing 54-year-old Ralph Myron Roane while operating a DPW vacuum vehicle on Aug. 15, 2016.
Defense attorney Bradley Macfee said Laprade maintained he had no idea he had struck Roane. He was eating lunch and completing paperwork in his vehicle around 1:30 p.m. that day when he pulled off.
"He never saw Mr. Roane walk in front of the truck," Macfee said. He said an autopsy showed Roane had alcohol, cocaine and methadone in his system, and is believed to have been bent over when he was struck.
Police said at the time that Laprade was charged that they believed the accident was due to pedestrian error, but that Laprade committed a crime when he left.
Macfee said Laprade was tracked down by a man who said he witnessed the accident. Laprade was "very confused, and legitimately did not believe he'd been in an accident, but was concerned and went to check it out," Macfee said, noting there was a dispute over whether the witness said someone was hit, or that there "might have been" someone hit.
He visited the scene and inspected his truck at a DPW yard and "didn't see any indicator of an accident," Macfee said.
Laprade was fired from his city job after the incident, but appealed and was reinstated. Macfee said Laprade, of New Freedom, Pa., is "an exceptional person," a devout religious man and married father of three. Character witnesses testified on his behalf.
The top count of leaving the scene carried a possible sentence of five years in prison.
"He's just very relieved about the whole thing; this has been weighing pretty heavy on him for two years," Macfee said.