A group of Philadelphia teenagers carjacked and robbed a King of Prussia mall worker late Tuesday, taking the woman’s car on a extended joyride that ended with a violent crash in West Philadelphia, police said Wednesday.
Nyshay Hanton and Ellijah Simmons, both 17, were taken into custody shortly after 10 p.m. at the scene of the crash at 37th and Spring Garden Streets, according to investigators.
Both are charged as adults with robbery, aggravated assault, eluding police, and related offenses in the carjacking and crash, which injured seven passengers on a SEPTA bus, court records show. Simmons also faces charges of terroristic threats and strangulation for the attack on the victim, a woman in her 20s whom police have not identified.
Hanton, of the East Frankford section of Philadelphia, was arraigned about noon Wednesday and remained in custody with bail set at $50,000. Simmons, of Grays Ferry, was injured in the crash and arraigned later Wednesday after undergoing surgery. He also remained in custody with bail set at $250,000.
It was unclear Wednesday if either had attorneys.
The initial attack took place around 9:45, when the victim was walking to her Toyota Highlander in the mall’s Green Parking Garage after finishing her shift at a unspecified store, according to Upper Merion Police Chief Thomas Nolan.
As she was entering the SUV’s driver seat, the woman was approached by Hanton, Simmons, and a 14-year-old girl whom police have not identified but say will face similar charges.
Simmons asked to use the victim’s phone and appeared to dial a number before handing the phone to Hanton, complaining that “he didn’t pick up,” according to the affidavit of probable cause for the teens’ arrests.
But after handing Hanton the phone, Simmons grabbed the victim from behind and placed her in a choke hold, hard enough that the victim thought she was going to black out, according to Nolan.
The victim told the teens to take the phone as she began to lose consciousness, the affidavit said. She told police she was punched in the face by one of the girls and woke up a short time later to find Simmons standing over her.
The teen threatened to shoot her and reached toward his waistband as if he had a gun, Nolan said. He noted that no firearm was recovered after Simmons’ arrest.
The three suspects then drove off in the victim’s SUV, but were spotted nearby by an Upper Merion police officer. Simmons took the vehicle onto the Schuylkill Expressway and refused to stop after the officer tried to pull the vehicle over.
The subsequent chase wound its way into Philadelphia, where a Pennsylvania state trooper joined in, the affidavit says. As the teens left the highway at the Spring Garden exit, the trooper hit the car with his vehicle.
That impact failed to stop the teens, who sped away in the vehicle a short distance before colliding with the SEPTA bus.
Simmons had to be pulled from the vehicle by first responders and was taken to a nearby hospital in critical but stable condition, police said. The two other suspects were hospitalized for minor injuries.