Nicholas Hasselback, a former Temple student facing charges in a hit-and-run on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in April, struck a Temple Law School student after first swerving to avoid hitting two women in an intersection, the passenger in his car testified yesterday.
"I tried to warn Nick there was people there - 'slow down!' " testified Michael Graber Jr., a friend of Hasselback's. "I screamed. I nudged him. I tried to beep the horn to warn" the pedestrians, but it didn't work, Graber said, adding he told Hasselback: "There's f---ing people there. Slow down!"
Graber, who was the sole witness at Hasselback's preliminary hearing and who admitted being high that night on hallucinogenic mushrooms, said Hasselback, 22, didn't slow down and was driving about 50 to 60 mph on the Parkway.
After hitting Tony Foltz, 25, in the intersection at 22nd Street, "we kept going," Graber said. "I told him to stop, slow down. We just kept going."
Municipal Judge Jimmie Moore yesterday held Hasselback for trial on all charges - aggravated assault, leaving the scene of an accident involving injury and related offenses.
Hasselback, who is out on bail, is staying with his parents in Ephrata, Lancaster County. Dressed in a dark suit, with his hair pulled back in a ponytail, he appeared solemn in court and didn't comment afterward.
At the time of the April 11 crash, Hasselback was a senior at Temple living with friends in an apartment on Ridge Avenue near Ferry Road in East Falls.
Graber testified that he and Hasselback had gone to the Public House restaurant and bar, 18th Street near Arch, about 10 p.m. April 10. He said that they got separated after entering the crowded bar but that he saw Hasselback two or three times throughout the night, each time with a beer in his hand.
Graber said he did not know whether it was the same beer or different beers.
He said he and Hasselback stayed at the bar until 2 a.m., then returned to Hasselback's car, parked a block away. Hasselback was driving fine, he said.
As Hasselback got on the Parkway, heading west, Graber said he "saw maybe 10 people cross the street" at 22nd.
Graber said he tried to warn Hasselback of the pedestrians, but Hasselback told him to be quiet. "You can't tell him how to drive," Graber testified under questioning by Assistant District Attorney Lynne O'Brien, noting that Hasselback tends to drive "pretty fast."
He said Hasselback "swerved fast to avoid" two women who were walking south in the crosswalk. In doing so, Hasselback hit Foltz, who was walking north, Graber said.
After hitting Foltz, Hasselback drove north onto Callowhill Street, and at some point, Graber said he got out of the car after demanding Hasselback to stop.
Under questioning by defense attorney Andrew Gay Jr., Graber admitted that he was high that night on mushrooms, having taken "two big ones" earlier that night before going to the Public House, then drinking two to three beers.
Graber admitted he was impaired and "seeing things."
But he said he "was pretty sure" the traffic light was green when Hasselback approached 22nd Street on the Parkway.
After getting out of the car, Graber said he returned to the accident scene and then made his way to Hasselbeck's apartment in East Falls. There, Hasselback asked "if the victim was hurt," Graber testified. "I said, 'I don't know.' He said he thought the guy walked right in front of him."
Graber said he told Hasselback that he was wrong.
After the hearing, O'Brien said Foltz is now an inpatient at Magee Rehabilitation after numerous surgeries at Hahnemann University Hospital. She said he is now talking and "is working very hard to make a full recovery."