D.C. police obtained an arrest warrant yesterday for Ricardo Antonio Aspillaga, charging him with negligent homicide in the hit-and-run death of a George Washington University law student.
Aspillaga, 31, of Arlington County, who allegedly fled the scene in downtown Washington Sunday morning, was arrested in Arlington a short time after the accident. He was arraigned Monday in General District Court in Arlington on a charge of driving while intoxicated.
D.C. police said they hope to extradite Aspillaga to the District, where he could face up to five years in prison if convicted, said Lt. Bridget Sickon, commander of the major crash investigations unit. Detective Michael Millett, Detective Elgin Wheeler and Investigator Gerald Anderson worked on the case through the night Monday, waking a judge to get the warrant, Sickon said.
Seth Wadley, 24, just one semester away from graduation, was pronounced dead at George Washington Hospital about 5 p.m. Monday while his family and more than a 100 friends and professors assembled outside his hospital room. Authorities said they found what appeared to be Wadley's keys on the shattered and bloodied windshield of Aspillaga's 1997 Nissan Sentra.
David Carl, a friend who witnessed the accident, said he, Wadley and five other friends had gone to D.C. Live, a nightclub at Ninth and F streets NW. Afterward, the group stopped at a Popeyes restaurant a few blocks away, but it was closed.
Wadley, who was wearing a suit but no overcoat, said he was cold and wanted to sit in a friend's car. He and others waited at the corner for the signal to cross the intersection of 11th and G streets NW, Carl said.
"If anyone would cross the street right, it would be him," Carl said. "He's from a small town. He always waits for the walk sign."
A driver sped through the red light, striking Wadley, Carl said.
"I heard the sound. I looked up, and I saw that he hit the windshield and hit the ground," Carl said. "He went about half the distance of the block. We had to run over to where he was."
The accident has focused attention on growing concerns about the safety of what has recently become a popular nightclub strip. There have been worries about drunken driving, assaults and auto thefts.
The Downtown D.C. Business Improvement District said it intends to study the area, which draws more than 2,000 people on weekend nights.
"What's emerging in the downtown is an entertainment center," said Richard Bradley, executive director of the business improvement district. "But with that comes some disadvantages. We want people to come downtown, even in the middle of the night. But it should still be safe."
CAPTION: A friend says Seth Wadley, 24, was crossing a downtown street with the light when he was hit.