EAST HUNTINGDON (KDKA) — A man accused in a deadly hit and run crash on Christmas Eve is now facing third-degree murder charges.

The charges were upgraded against Michael Ramsay in court Wednesday in Westmoreland County. He was supposed to have a preliminary hearing.

“We want justice for Joe and the family,” said Jeff Ritz, the victim’s brother-in-law.

Ritz read the statement on behalf of the family of 49-year-old Joe Cummins, a father of three who state police say was run down on Ruffsdale Alverton Road in East Huntingdon on Christmas Eve.

“Joe Cummins was an all-around great guy, excellent husband, awesome father and very good friend to many people, including ourselves,” said Ritz.

Ramsey told troopers he was on methadone and high on marijuana before the accident. He also claimed he was intentionally swerving his vehicle back and forth across the road prior to the accident.

Troopers say he admitted to fleeing the scene after striking Cummins and then covering his damaged vehicle with a tarp.

Ramsay was initially charged with homicide by motor vehicle while DUI and other related counts, but the Westmoreland County District Attorney’s Office added the charge of third-degree murder during the court proceedings.

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