A 40-year-old man accused of intentionally hitting and killing a woman with a stolen car in Philadelphia and injuring several other people in two other city incidents early Wednesday was arrested after authorities say he intentionally struck and severely injured a jogger a few hours later with a second stolen vehicle in Montgomery County.
Kareem Welton, of South Philadelphia, was arrested without incident in Trappe Borough around 6 a.m. Police say they believe he was under the influence of “dissociative anesthetics’' — drugs that can cause hallucinogenic effects — and cannabis.
A witness told police he saw a man, later identified as Welton, exit a gray Nissan Altima at an Exxon gas station in Trappe, remove a puppy from the backseat, cross the street and then tried to steal a bicycle. Welton was arrested nearby a short time later. Police recovered the Altima at the gas station. The car’s hazard lights were flashing and the engine was still running.
Minutes earlier, Welton allegedly struck a 38-year-old man who was jogging on the 300 block of East Main Street in Collegeville and then drove away. The jogger was found by a police officer who had been pursuing the Altima but lost sight of the vehicle. The jogger suffered a broken spine, a fractured leg, and broken ribs. He was hospitalized at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center and was expected to survive.
In that case, Welton, who did not have a valid driver’s license, was charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault, said Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele, who added that the investigation continued as to what else may have happened in the county.
Another jogger at the scene of the hit-and-run told a county detective that she witnessed the Altima cross the opposing lane of traffic and strike the victim on the sidewalk, and then return back to the westbound lane and drive away.
A county detective confirmed with Philadelphia police that the Altima had been stolen at 4:44 a.m. from a Rittenhouse Square neighborhood.
“This defendant was not only driving recklessly and at a high rate of speed, but he intentionally targeted the runner and hit him, attempting to kill him,” Steele said in a statement. “The intention to kill and seriously injure people can be seen in the defendant’s actions throughout the night.”
Earlier in Philadelphia, a Honda motorcycle was stopped facing westbound on Lombard Street at Broad Street when it was rear-ended around 2:10 a.m. by a dark-colored Chevrolet Malibu that continued traveling west, said Police Chief Inspector Scott Small.
A 28-year-old woman riding as a passenger on the Honda was taken by medics to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, where she was listed in stable condition. The operator of the Honda, a 29-year-old man, was not taken to the hospital.
A minute or two later, a second accident was reported near 15th and South Streets, Small said. A 31-year-old woman, later identified as Andrina Moreno-Sanchez, was walking home from her job at a Center City steakhouse Steak 48 on the sidewalk along 15th just south of the intersection when she was struck by the Malibu.
The Malibu then made a U-turn and drove back onto the sidewalk to hit Moreno-Sanchez a second time, Small said.
An adult male coworker, who was walking with a bicycle alongside her, was able to jump out of the way and did not appear to be injured, Small said.
The driver, believed to be Welton, abandoned the Malibu and fled the scene. Small said the Malibu had been reported stolen in South Philadelphia shortly after midnight.
The Altima that had been reported stolen later struck a pedestrian in the area of Umbria and Hermitage Streets in Manayunk, police said. The pedestrian was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Philadelphia police on Wednesday night had not yet reported any charges for Welton.
“We are very saddened to learn of a tragic incident that happened overnight. At this time, we do not have any information to share other than what has been reported. Our understanding is that it is under investigation by the local authorities. Our employees are like family to us here at Steak 48. Our hearts and thoughts are with the family, friends and employees impacted by this devastating tragedy,” the restaurant’s operators said in statement Wednesday night.