Homicide Defendant Pleads Guilty in Fatal Hit-And-Run Case

DC Superior Court Judge Maribeth Raffinan accepted a homicide defendant’s guilty plea in connection to fatally striking a pedestrian with a vehicle.

Rosa Bishop, 35, waived her right to a trial and pleaded guilty on July 5 to one count of involuntary manslaughter with criminal negligence in connection to a fatal hit-and-run that killed 32-year-old Loleita Gross on Jan. 1, 2020, at the intersection of Minnesota Avenue and L’Enfant Square, SE. 

According to court documents, Bishop struck Gross with her silver 2008 Saturn Vue SUV on the sidewalk and hit a tree in a park before coming to a final rest. Bishop and a passenger fled the scene on foot. 

Emergency services initiated life-saving measures on Gross, but she was pronounced dead shortly after being transported to Medstar Washington Hospital Center. An autopsy concluded that Gross sustained fractures to her pelvis and arm and died of an aortic transection caused by the impact of the vehicle. Gross was approximately 2-3 months pregnant at the time. 

Analysis of data from the vehicle’s Crash Data Recorder indicated that the vehicle was traveling at a speed of 75 mph 2.5 seconds before impact, despite the posted speed limit of 25 mph in the area. 

A Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Officer found a bottle of alcohol and credit card under the defendant’s name in the vehicle. The vehicle was registered to the defendant’s mother. 

Hours after the incident, Bishop voluntarily reported to MPD’s Traffic Safety and Specialized Enforcement Section. Her appearance matched the description of the witness at the scene.

Bishop was transported to Howard University Hospital to treat the injuries she sustained in the crash. She told the ambulance technician that she had been in a car accident but did not know the location or if she was the driver. Bishop’s blood was drawn at the hospital and analysis detected alcohol and THC in her system approximately seven hours after the incident. 

The plea offer reduced the charge from second-degree murder to involuntary manslaughter, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years’ imprisonment and a supervised release period of at least five years. 

The prosecution agreed to waive sentencing enhancement papers and will not seek an indictment on any remaining or greater charges arising from the facts of the case. The prosecution will also reserve allocution at sentencing. 

“She leaves behind three kids,” Gross’s sister told the judge. “She didn’t get to live her full life… now I’m 32 and all I can think about is that my sister didn’t get to live until 32.”

Bishop is currently released under the high intensity supervision program. Judge Raffinan scheduled a sentencing hearing for Oct. 14.

“I am truly truly sorry for your loss,” Jude Raffinan told Gross’ family. “And to picture and imagine those experiences that you have lost. I will certainly consider that when I impose a sentence.”