Driver indicted in death of Lakeside High teacher, pleads not guilty
A DeKalb County Grand Jury has formally indicted Ramiro Pedemonte on charges of vehicular homicide in connection with the death of a Lakeside High teacher.
Pedemonte on April 4 pleaded not guilty to the charges. He was arrested last year following an April 25, 2015 car accident on Scott Boulevard at Ridley Circle in Decatur. The accident resulted in the death of Lakeside High teacher Leah O’Brien, who was turning left off of Ridley onto Scott Boulevard. The accident critically injured her eight-year-old daughter. Pedemonte was charged with two felonies: homicide by vehicle and serious injury by vehicle.
Police allege he was driving faster than 100 miles per hour at the time of the incident. The posted speed limit on Scott Boulevard is 40 miles per hour. Pedemonte, who was 19 at the time, was in a rented Dodge Charger and was driving his date to the Lakeside High prom when he hit O’Brien’s vehicle.
It’s unclear how the teenagers involved in the accident were able to obtain the rental car.
The website of the rental car company that owns the Charger said the minimum age to rent a car is 21, but there are special restrictions for renters between the ages of 21 and 24. According to the website, “Drivers between the ages of 21-24 may only rent specific vehicle classes: Economy, Compact, Intermediate, Standard, Full-Size, Minivan, Intermediate SUV, or Standard SUV.” The Dodge Charger is considered a “Premium” vehicle class, meaning that the person who rented it had to be at least 25 years old.
A spokesperson for the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office says the case will likely go to trial in May.