Richard Romo, 45, will spend nearly nine years behind bars after he hit and killed 13-year-old Dylan Buensuceco, who was riding his bike home from school near Estrella Parkway and Elliot Road on April 26, 2022.
Romo was arrested days after the collision.
"Many people came forward with camera footage. Ultimately, that was key in solving this case," said Lisa Berry with the Goodyear Police Department, at the time of Romo's arrest.
Romo previously served four months in prison for aggravated DUI and has a history of DUI and drug-related charges.
"Unbelievable. He did it, and just went on like nothing every happened," said Dylan's father, Eric Buensuceso. "The lack of remorse the lack of passion, of just being a human being. The report said he got out of his car looked at my son’s dead body and moved on. What’s even more astounding: his parents hid him."
‘I’m just going to miss him’
"He was a caring kid. A great sense of humor. He would’ve been one of the good ones," said Buensuceso.
He says Dylan always rode his bike to and home from school, but on April 26, he says he got a call from the school principal and rushed to the hospital, but it was too late.
"Went to Abrazo and the trauma surgeons said he was gone," Buensuceso said.
Throughout the day, dozens of people dropped off notes, stuffed animals, and candles at a makeshift memorial. Families were gathering to remember Dylan.
"He was very smart. He was more aware than your average 13-year-old. He had aspirations of being a medical doctor. I’m just going to miss him," Buensuceso said. "I'm hoping to God they find him and this can come to a conclusion so we can all grieve."
Buensuceso says he's trying to make sense of this.
"It’s the worst thing in the world for a parent to bury his child. Its one of the worst things you can experience as a parent and now I have to go through this and I really don’t know how to cope at this point. Just trying to struggle to wrap my head around it that he’s gone. We are going to have to carry on without him," the father said.
Victim's school issues statement
Estrella Mountain Elementary School Principal Lynzee Booras released a statement to parents via email saying, in part, "Dear Estrella Mountain Families, After school was dismissed today, an eighth grade student who was walking home was hit by a vehicle. That student was seriously injured and is currently being treated in the hospital. Goodyear Police are handling the investigation of this incident. The safety of our students and staff is always our number one priority and we appreciate our community’s concern. All children react differently to a situation such as this."
Booras offered advice for parents when talking to their children about this incident, and said there will be counselors on campus the following day to speak with.
"Dylan’s family has asked for privacy at this time. I know you join me in expressing our sympathy, concern and prayers. Students react in different ways to tragedies such as this. As the adult caretakers, parents and guardians should expect, try to understand, and accept a variety of emotions and behaviors. The most important thing we can do is to be supportive, to encourage discussion, and to be good listeners," Booras said.
Eri Gomez’s house backs up to San Gabriel Drive, the exact intersection where the child was hit. He says a neighbor ran out to help.
"She was a nurse for, I think Banner, and just started doing CPR immediately and from what I understand, I don’t know his condition at the moment, but I do know that it didn’t look very good," Gomez said before ultimately learning the child passed away.
Dylan Buensuceso died after being struck by a hit-and-run driver on April 26, 2022, in Goodyear, Arizona. (Eric Buensuceso)
Gomez says police came to his home asking if his security cameras caught anything, but unfortunately, they didn't.
"My daughter walks the dog right in that same area. Could have been her. Could have been anybody," he said.
Residents say speeding drivers have long been a concern along the roads Dylan was struck.
"There’s so many people coming and going here. That stop sign, people blow that stop sign. People speed through there, and the construction workers, they don’t know us here," said Marie Trujillo, a parent in the neighborhood.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family during their time of need.
Area where the hit-and-run crash happened: