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Young driver in hit-and-run makes plea

Ian Eckardt-Rigberg of Delmar faces three to 10 years for hit-and-run last year

Timothy Whitehead (far left), the brother of Rozell Whitehead, stands near a makeshift memorial for his brother, who was killed Saturday, Feb. 25, in the City of Albany when he was struck by a car while crossing Henry Johnson Boulevard.

Timothy Whitehead (far left), the brother of Rozell Whitehead, stands near a makeshift memorial for his brother, who was killed Saturday, Feb. 25, in the City of Albany when he was struck by a car while crossing Henry Johnson Boulevard. Tom Heffernan Sr

— A Delmar motorist who killed a pedestrian during a hit-and-run accident last February has been sentenced.

Ian Eckardt-Rigberg, 20, pleaded guilty this morning in an Albany County Court to manslaughter in the second degree and leaving the scene of an accident, both felonies. He faces three to 10 years in state prison, in addition to a concurrent term of two to six years. He was scheduled to be sentenced in March.

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Submitted photo

Bethlehem resident Ian Eckardt-Rigberg, 19, was charged in the Feb. 25 hit and run incident in Albany.

Eckardt-Rigberg, of 93 Fernbank Avenue, was charged in connection with the accident that killed Rozell Whitehead on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012. He was previously released on $75,000 bail after a hearing was requested by his lawyer last March.

A teenager at the time of the accident, Eckardt-Rigberg was not granted bail after his first arraignment and spent several days in jail before being released.

Whitehead, 53, was killed while crossing Henry Johnson Boulevard near the intersection of Third Street in the City of Albany. He was struck by a 2007 Toyota Avalon being driven by Eckhardt-Rigberg at around 7 p.m.

After being struck, Whitehead was thrown up onto the hood of the car and hit the windshield before hitting the pavement. He was transported to Albany Medical Center where he was pronounced dead of multiple internal injuries.

State Police had seen the car speeding at 75 mph in a 55 mph zone and were pursuing the car on Interstate 90 when it took the Ext 6 off-ramp. State Police decided the car was too far ahead and broke off the chase. The car struck Whitehead shortly thereafter

The patrol car had its emergency lights activate during the pursuit, according to police.

Albany police said Eckardt-Rigberg did not stop after hitting Whitehead and continued south on Henry Johnson. Eckardt-Rigberg appeared at the Bethlehem Police Station shortly afterwards to report an accident, and police determined he was involved in the hit-and-run. He was turned over to Albany police detectives.

Eckardt-Rigberg is to be sentenced in Albany County Court on Thursday, March 28.

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