Mother of street racing crash victim says she forgives those involved

Route 99

By Mike LaCrosse

A grieving mother is reliving the horrific death of her 21-year-old son after State Police arrest seven people involved in the deadly street racing crash.

Despite the pain and loss, though, she says she is at peace and willing to forgive those involved in the ultra-high speed crash.

On July 9, police say a group of cars left a car show in North Smithfield and started racing each other down Route 99 south, driving at over 120 miles per hour. 

One car, driven by Aarron Harmon of Bellingham, crashed.

Harmon’s passenger, 21-year-old Simon Ratsamy of Woonsocket, was killed.

Almost 5 months later, the victim’s mother, Chitpasong Ratsamy says the charges are opening up old wounds and are a reminder her son is no longer with her. She wears a pin with a picture of her son Simon everyday.

“It’s hard that he’s not there…that there is only two of us now. Without him it’s hard.”

Seven of his friends are now charged with either street racing or reckless driving in connection to the crash.

His mom knows many of the guys arrested and their families.

” I forgive them…hoping they would learn from their mistakes. I mean they’re young they don’t know better.”

“It’s a very unfortunate situation and you know the public should realize the potential the highway has for tragedy,” says Acting Captain Timothy Sanzi of the Rhode Island State Police.

Acting Captain Sanzi says racing isn’t common but they’ve had reports of it happening on remote stretches over the last year. 

“It’s a violation of several laws in the state of Rhode Island and you know the speed limit is posted for a reason.”

In the meantime, Chitpasong says she doesn’t want other families to suffer like she is.

“I never thought my son would have a hobby like that.”

Four arrested for street racing are:

• Brian Simono, age 19, of Woonsocket

• Joshua A. Bettencourt, age 25, of Uxbridge

• Corey Smiley, age 21, of North Smithfield

• Austin Machado, age 19, of North Smithfield

Three others were arrested and charged with reckless driving:

• Nicholas J. Budnick, age 27, of Blackstone

• Zachary J. Fortier, age 20, of Woonsocket

• Ramiro Segura, age 20, of Woonsocket

The 7 were released on $1,000 personal recognizance and will be back in court next month.

Charges for Harmon are pending as the investigation is ongoing.

© WLNE-TV 2014