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Cleveland Man pleads guilty to Christmas Day hit-skip that left mother of 3 dead

Posted at 3:48 PM, Apr 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-23 15:48:55-04

CLEVELAND — The man involved in a hit-skip that killed a 35-year-old mother of three on Christmas Day pleaded guilty in court Thursday, according to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor.

On Dec. 25, 2019, Melanie Phillips was dropped off in front of her home on West 52nd Street in Cleveland by her aunt. Phillips was standing on the sidewalk while grabbing her belongings out of her aunt’s trunk when she was struck by a car.

Edwin Valentin, 25, was driving on West 52nd Street when he swerved off the road, smashed into a utility pole, hit a tree, struck Phillips, dragging her across the driveway before striking another utility pole and driving away, authorities said.

Phillips was transported to a nearby hospital where she died from her injuries five days later.

Valentin was arrested the day after the crash after video surveillance and a license plate left at the scene led police to identify him as the driver.

On Friday, Valentin pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated vehicular homicide, one count of failure to stop after an accident and one count of attempted tampering with evidence.

Valentin will be sentenced on Wednesday, May 13 at the Cuyahoga County Justice Center.

RELATED: Cleveland woman injured in Christmas hit-skip dies, driver arrested