Total $45K in rewards offered in fatal hit-run of 8-year-old Jayanna Powell
The parents of 8-year-old Jayanna Powell and police pleaded on Tuesday for the driver who struck and killed the little girl in West Philadelphia more than a week ago to come forward.
A total of $45,000 in reward money is now being offered for information leading to the arrest of the hit-and-run driver.
Mayor Kenney's office is offering $10,000 for the arrest and conviction of the driver, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said at a news conference at police headquarters. The local Fraternal Order of Police is offering another $15,000 just for the driver's arrest.
"You bring him in today, you get paid today," John McNesby, president of Lodge No. 5 of the FOP said. He said the money is being donated by businesses. "It's not for the conviction. You don't have to wait for a long, detailed process."
Separately, the girl's uncle, who owns a barbershop, is putting up a $20,000 reward for anyone with information about the driver, Jayanna's parents, Ayeshia Poole and James Powell, told reporters after the news conference.
Jayanna, who was a second-grader at the Lewis C. Cassidy elementary school at 6523 Lansdowne Ave., was walking home from school at about 3:15 p.m. Nov. 18 with her three siblings, ages 6 to 12, when she was struck by a car at 63rd Street and Lansdowne Avenue, at the border with Overbrook.
Her parents said Jayanna was holding her 12-year-old brother's hand when the two of them were struck by a car. Jayanna, who was unconscious, was rushed by medics to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where she was pronounced dead shortly afterward. The brother, a sixth grader at the school, suffered minor injuries.
"I just want to talk to the person who hit my daughter," Poole, 30, said at the news conference. "It may have been an accident. I don't know. I just ask you to turn yourself in."
A candlelight vigil was held for Jayanna the day after the crash. The family buried Jayanna on Monday. "The hardest thing in my life," Poole said. "I don't get a prom, I don't get a graduation, no marriage, no grandkids. No nothing. So just turn yourself in. Make it better on everybody. Please, just turn yourself in."
Poole told reporters before the news conference that Jayanna lived with her at 57th Street and Lansdowne Avenue. On that afternoon, she was walking to meet her children — as she usually did — as they were walking home from school. She was at 60th and Lansdowne when she got a call from the school's principal, telling her about the crash, she said.
Police on Tuesday said the investigation was continuing. They said the girl and her siblings were walking on the south side of Lansdowne Avenue and were crossing 63rd when Jayanna was hit. Asked if the driver ran a red light, Capt. Patrick Kelly, commanding officer of the Accident Investigation District, declined comment, saying that was under investigation.
The striking vehicle is believed to be a silver 2009-2016 Nissan Altima, Kelly said. The car should have damage to one of its front headlights as well as to the front grill area. He said police recovered pieces of the car's front grill at the scene.
"You have to come forward," Kelly said. "The longer you stay away, it looks like you're trying to hide something."
Added Kelly: "Come forward, tell us your side of the story."
He urged the driver or tipsters to go to the Accident Investigation District at 26th and Master Streets or call AID at 215-685-3180. Tipsters can also call the FOP at 215-629-3626.
Jayanna's parents also urged anyone with tips to contact police.