MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The driver who struck and killed a well-known businessman on the Dolphin Expressway then sped away was sentenced Wednesday morning.
Charles Bible accepted the plea deal offered by prosecutors. In exchange for pleading guilty to DUI manslaughter and failure to render aid, Bible received a reduced jail sentence of ten years plus ten years of probation.
The hit-and-run accident in early August claimed the life of 36-year-old Rodolfo “Rudy” Garmendia.
“I’m haunted by nightmares of my brother coldly left to die alone in pain with no one to hold him or console him. I cannot forgive Charles Bible for what he has done,” Garmendia’s sister, Maggie Garmendia, said at the sentencing.
His cousin Cathy Pareto told Judge Samantha Ruiz-Cohen about Rudy Garmendia and that, “as teenagers, he was my protector. Rudy is gone. Nothing can change that. His spirit will live on, but his premature death deserves justice and it’s time for that justice to finally be served. Drunk driving is not an accident. It is a crime.”
Manny Chamizo, his friend, turned to Charles Bible pounded on the podium and said, “Sir, may you rot in hell.”
William DeCardenas, Garmendia’s brother-in-law, spoke to the judge and, in between tears, he said he was there to echo the voices of
Garmendia’s three children who are too young to speak. Acting as their voices, he said Rudy was a father who ”will no longer be there to walk his daughter down the aisle. A father that is not there anymore to coach little league baseball that was so dear to us. A friend that was always there.”
“Years from now when these children research the death of their father please don’t let them find that this man got off easy. I implore you to use your authority to give him the maximum sentence,” DeCardenas said to the judge.
After listening to the numerous friends and families who tearfully spoke as they remembered Garmendia, 72-year-old Charles Bible turned to the family and expressed remorse.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry for what I have done to your family. I’m sorry for what I’ve done to my family. As I begin my incarceration, my
prayers are with you so that everyone can move forward.”
From the family’s comments, it is clear that moving forward from the events of that early August night will be hard, if not impossible.
According to family friend Adam Lubkin, it was the night that Garmendia pulled his BMW over to the side of the Dolphin Expressway near the exit to SR-826, to fix a flat tire just moments after the two talked on the phone.
Investigators said Bible, driving a Ford F-250, veered off the road, struck Germendia, then kept on driving.
Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Pat Santangelo said the Ford F-250 was found about an hour after the accident in the gated Doral neighborhood where Bible lives, near his home.
Garmendia helped his family run Hurst Hurricane Shutters for 17 years.