Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2008

Autopsy to confirm if man is year’s first pedestrian fatality

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A Gaithersburg man found dead in the road just two blocks from his home on Sunday could be the county’s first pedestrian fatality of the year, police said.

Montgomery County Police are awaiting autopsy results to confirm that Manuel Antonio Ramirez, 38, died after being struck by a vehicle in the 7600 block of Muncaster Mill Road in Gaithersburg early Sunday. The driver of the vehicle remained at the scene, police said, and foul play is not suspected.

Ramirez, of the 7400 block of Muncaster Mill Road, was pronounced dead at the scene, and his injuries appear to be consistent with being struck by a vehicle, said Cpl. Jimmy Robinson, a spokesman for county police.

Ramirez was struck by at least one vehicle, police said, though it seems unlikely that he was hit by more than one, Robinson said. It is not yet clear whether alcohol was a factor or why Ramirez was in the middle of the road, he said.

Police responded to a report of an assault and battery in progress in the area where Ramirez was found at 12:51 a.m., Robinson said, and were notified of a body in the road three minutes later. It is not yet known whether the two incidents are related, he said.

If an autopsy conducted by the Medical Examiner’s Office in Baltimore confirms that Ramirez was killed in a vehicle collision, he will be the first pedestrian fatality in the county this year, Robinson said. Police expect autopsy results in two to four weeks.

Seventeen people were fatally struck by vehicles in the county in 2007, one of the deadliest years for pedestrians in recent memory. Between 2003 and 2006, there was an average of 14 pedestrian deaths each year, according to county statistics.

The incident is under investigation, and no charges had been filed as of Tuesday morning.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Major Crimes Division at 240-773-5070.