A 20-year-old man was killed and a woman was injured in a crash early Friday on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia police said.
The pair were among four people in a black Volkswagen Jetta that investigators believe was speeding up the Parkway about 4:20 a.m. when the driver apparently lost control of the car near 20th Street, then struck a tree and a pole on the center median.
An eyewitness told police the car was one of three driving fast at the same time, but Capt. Mark Overwise of the Accident Investigation District said it didn’t appear to be a drag race or “drag racing the way you see it in South Philly,” with a start and finish line.
Police did not identify the crash victims, but said the man was taken by medics to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and pronounced dead at 4:51 a.m.
With him in the car were three women, ages 20, 21, and 22, Overwise said, but investigators had not determined who was driving. The Jetta was owned by the 21-year-old woman.
One of the women was hospitalized in stable condition after complaining of neck and back pain and arm injuries, police said.
Drag racing has been an issue in South Philadelphia. A 45-year-old woman was critically injured late last month, when a driver in an illegal street race on Third Street near Pattison Avenue just after midnight one night lost control and swerved into a crowd of people watching the race.
The occupants of both cars fled the scene. Overwise said Friday that police are continuing to investigate that crash and no arrests have been made. Although police know who owns the car that hit the woman, they have been trying to determine who was driving it, he said.
In another case, police on Friday also said they were seeking the driver of a Dodge Ram 1500 Quad Cab pickup truck believed to have killed a pedestrian in Juniata Park about 11:30 p.m. on Sept. 18.
The victim, Maria Rivera, 46, who lived nearby, was crossing Erie Avenue near I Street when the westbound vehicle struck her in the crosswalk then fled, police said. The pickup is believed to be black or dark blue in color with chrome wheels and a chrome toolbox attached to the bed.
The victim’s relatives pleaded for the public’s help in finding the driver during a news conference Friday at Accident Investigation District headquarters.
"They just left her there like a dog," said her daughter, Mariana Otero, 29, adding: “Whoever did it, needs to come forward. They need to give us the justice we need. It’s just too much pain for us.”
The Fraternal Order of Police has offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.
Police ask that anyone with information on any of these crashes call investigators at 215-685-3180.