A Southwest Philadelphia man will stand trial on a murder charge in the May 22 death of a man whose car, authorities said, he "T-boned" as he fled police at up to 100 m.p.h. in a stolen truck.
Michael Watson, 46, was held for trial on third-degree murder and related charges by Municipal Court Judge Patrick F. Dugan in the crash at Island and Bartram Avenues, which killed Mizraim El, 27, of the city's Eastwick section.
The passenger in El's Chrysler 300 sedan, Shakia Flamer, 31, remains hospitalized, recovering from head and chest injuries.
"He took off like a maniac," testified Tinicum Township Police Sgt. James Simpkins, referring to how Watson drove away in his green Chevy Tahoe from a traffic stop on Bartram, just past the intersection with Industrial Highway on the Delaware County side of the city line.
One minute and 11/2 miles later, Simpkins said, he spotted the truck "tumbling" through the Island Avenue intersection before coming to a rest on the driver's side. Still in the intersection was a sedan so damaged that Simpkins said he could not tell the make and model.
He said he had spotted the Tahoe on Industrial Highway after getting a radio report of a truck of that description seen a half-hour earlier driving off with a tailgate stolen from a truck in a nearby hotel parking lot.
Simpkins said he had turned on the flasher of his unmarked SUV and approached the truck from behind as it turned left onto Bartram Avenue. But a van whose driver apparently thought he was being stopped got in the way, and the Tahoe sped off.
Tinicum Police Officer William Righter testified that he was at the Island Avenue intersection when Simpkins radioed about the Tahoe.
Righter testified that only one of the four lanes of Bartram Avenue was free of vehicles as the speeding truck approached the red light. He went to his car and retrieved a strip of "Stinger Spikes," a tire-deflating device; threw it in front of the truck; and "ducked," he said.
"He ran over them, and in the next second I heard the sound of the vehicle collision," Righter said.
Righter said he found a stunned woman in the Tahoe, but the driver had gone. Righter testified that he apprehended Watson 20 feet away, where pedestrians had caught and pinned him to the ground.