Man sentenced in deadly 2015 street race crash in DC

A D.C. man has been sentenced to more than 2 1/2 years in prison for causing a crash during a drag race almost seven years ago that left an Arlington, Virginia, man dead.

The sentence came after tear filled-appeals to the judge for the maximum sentence for Rasheed Murray, 34, from victim Matthew Roth’s family.

“Saying goodbye to my son, my firstborn child, a child that made me a mom, was the hardest thing I ever had to do,” Denise Roth said.

Matthew Roth died in the hospital from injuries in the crash on July 19, 2015, after Murray lost control of his car during a street race down 16th Street in Northwest. Murray pleaded guilty to causing the crash and also driving while under the influence. Roth was not involved in the drag race.

Denise Roth said her son, who was 24 years old, was humble and selfless and loved his family. Matthew Roth was a recent graduate of the University of Maryland when he died. She told the court Murray robbed her son of his future, and robbed her of her future with her son.

“The chance to dance with my son at his wedding, the chance to be grandmother to his children,” Denise Roth said.

Zach Roth, Matthew’s brother, talked about the pain of losing his older brother when he was just 15 years old.

“My brother Matthew Roth’s incredibly bright future was taken away because on July 19, 2015, Rasheed Murray drove drunk and decided to race Ryan Thompson,” Zach Roth said.

Father Dave Roth urged the judge to give Murray the maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

“Because my family and anybody who knew Matt have already received a life sentence and will be paying it for a lot more than 10 years,” Dave Roth said.

Murray’s attorney Mani Golzari said his client was a young man who despite a difficult upbringing excelled in school, graduating from Temple University and received a master’s degree at the University of Maryland. Golzari said Murray is remorseful for what he described as a “tragic, tragic, mistake.” Golzari also urged the judge to not sentence Murray to prison time.

“Rasheed is never going to find himself back here again. This was the lowest point of his entire life” Golzari said.

Before being sentenced, an emotional Murray, who was 28 at the time of the deadly crash, apologized to Mathew’s family and friends.

“I’m sorry. I wish that I could exchange my life for his. I wish that I could bring him back,” Murray said.

Judge Milton Lee first apologized for the case taking so long to resolve, the sentence coming almost seven years after the street race and deadly crash. According to court records, the first sentencing hearing was set in 2018, and that was followed by delays, including the onset of the pandemic in 2020.

Ahead of reading the sentence, Lee said he believed Murray offered a heartfelt apology and also feels Murray knows now that his actions that early morning in D.C. were thoughtless and reckless.

“The disappointment, Mr. Murray, is that you should have known it then,” the judge said.

Lee told Murray he will get a second chance to rebound from this and reshape his life.

“Mathew Roth and his family will never have that,” Lee said.

Murray was sentenced to 30 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for voluntary manslaughter, which is a felony. He also was sentenced to 30 days each, for the charges of reckless driving and driving under the influence.

Thompson, the former D.C. firefighter who was racing Murray that night was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison back in 2019.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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