NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) announced today that the Nashville man involved in a hit-and-run fatal crash in Rutherford County this past July turned himself in to the U.S. Marshals Service in Laredo, Texas on Monday.
After nearly five months on the run, Ruben Prado Pena, 35, surrendered to the U.S. Marshals at the port of entry of the Gateway to the Americas International Bridge in Laredo at approximately 4:15 p.m. today. He had fled to Mexico.
Prado had been involved in a two vehicle crash on Interstate 24 eastbound near mile marker 65 in Rutherford County at approximately 2:30 a.m. on July 20, 2013. Prado, who was the sole occupant in his vehicle, was traveling west in the eastbound lanes of travel on Interstate 24 when he struck an eastbound traveling vehicle in the right front. The impact killed passenger Cynthia Joyner, 31, of Chattanooga, Tenn., and injured three others in that vehicle.
Adrian Romaniuk, the District Fugitive Task Force Coordinator with the U.S. Marshals Service, had recently been advised that Pena contacted the Metropolitan Nashville Police Dispatch Center to get information about the crash investigation. Romaniuk then provided his contact information to pass along to Pena, who later called Romaniuk on this past Friday, December 13.
The Middle Tennessee Fugitive Task Force Coordinator spent hours on the phone with Pena attempting to negotiate his surrender. A decision was not reached on Friday. However, Romaniuk again contacted Pena on today (12/16) and convinced him to turn himself in.
Pena was taken into custody without incident and transported to the Webb County Jail (Texas), where he will await extradition. THP will charge Pena with leaving the scene of a fatal accident and being a fugitive from justice. Additional charges are pending his extradition from Texas.
“We’d like to thank the U.S. Marshals Service for their assistance in apprehending this suspect. Justice will now be served and hopefully the family can have some closure,” THP Colonel Tracy Trott said.
The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s mission is (http://www.TN.Gov/safety) to ensure the safety and general welfare of the public. The department encompasses the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Office of Homeland Security and Driver License Services. General areas of responsibility include law enforcement, safety education, motorist services and terrorism prevention.