Skip to content
Crime & Justice
Link copied to clipboard

Off-duty cop to be charged for speeding into, killing pedestrian

Philadelphia Police Officer Adam Soto will also be suspended from the force for 30 days with the intent to dismiss, said Commissioner Richard Ross.

A Philadelphia police officer who allegedly struck and killed a pedestrian while off duty and speeding on Cottman Avenue will be charged with homicide by vehicle and involuntary manslaughter, authorities said Wednesday.

Officer Adam Soto was also suspended from the force for 30 days with the intent to dismiss, Police Commissioner Richard Ross said.

Soto had been accused of striking Danny Dimitri, 50, a chef at a Burholme seafood restaurant, as Dimitri walked across Cottman near Algon Avenue around 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 31. Dimitri was going to catch a bus to pick up his paycheck at work, his family said.

After the crash, investigators sought to determine whether Soto, a three-year veteran of the 24th District, was drag racing another car driven by an off-duty officer. A third off-duty officer was a passenger in that car, authorities said last month.

A source with knowledge of the investigation said that while Soto  accelerated until he struck Dimitri, the second driver slowed and stopped at a traffic light that Soto sped through.

Ross said that the officers in the second car were not expected to be charged, but that the driver, Tony Forest, a three-year veteran in the 14th District, would be fired for conduct unbecoming an officer.

Dimitri's family said last month that it had been told Soto was driving between 80 and 90 mph when he struck Dimitri. The speed limit in that area -- just outside Northeast High School -- is 30 mph.

Witnesses said Dimitri had no time to get out of the way, and surveillance video from a nearby pizza shop captured footage of his clothes flying and his body landing against a pole.

Outside the DA's Office on Wednesday, Dimitri's sister, Cherylann, 58, said she drives by the site where her brother was killed every day on her way to work. She said she misses his warm and gregarious spirit and cooking family meals with him on holidays.

She wanted all three officers charged in connection with her brother's death, saying she remains devastated by his sudden and unexpected loss.

"My life," she said, "will never be the same."