PHILADELPHIA (TUSEN) — A horrific accident in West Philadelphia left a teenager dead on Wednesday night. A driver struck two people and several parked vehicles.
Philadelphia police have identified the slain teenager as 16-year-old James Saunders of Philadelphia.
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Police say all signs point to impaired driving, as when they pulled the driver out of the vehicle he smelled of alcohol and was naked from the waist down.
Here’s what the police think happened:
They believe a 27-year-old man was driving south on 44th Street in West Philly just before 11 p.m. Wednesday when he hit two pedestrians with his Toyota Highlander SUV.
They say he punched Saunders so hard the teenager was knocked out of his sneakers and his body was dragged about 100ft.
Officers don’t know exactly where the 21-year-old was shot, but they believe it was in the same block. And they say the driver didn’t stop there.
They say he continued heading south until he hit three unattended parked cars about a block away at the intersection of 44th and Reno streets.
This accident caused heavy damage to the three vehicles and the Highlander.
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Investigators suspect the man was driving drunk because when police pulled him out of the vehicle they said he smelled of alcohol and was completely naked from the waist down.
Investigators also suspect speed was a factor.
“We found debris that covers an area approximately 300 feet from the striking vehicle,” Chief Inspector Scott Small said. “One of the pedestrians was knocked off his sneakers. We found at least one cell phone and lots of debris from this striking vehicle. »
“When they got him out of the vehicle, he was completely naked from the waist down, which is very unusual to drive a naked vehicle from the waist down,” he added. “So that’s one of the reasons we think he may have been impaired. Also, because of the way he was acting and I think the officers smelled alcohol also coming from him and from the vehicle.
Both victims were taken to Penn Presbyterian Hospital
While Saunders was pronounced dead around 11 p.m., police said the 21-year-old suffered a broken right ankle, as well as bumps and bruises, but is expected to survive.
The 27-year-old driver does not face any charges at this time, but that could change depending on the results of blood tests taken last night.
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After the accident, police determined that the Highlander driven by the suspect in the crash was stolen from Cheltenham Township at around 10.15pm on Wednesday.