Arrest in hit-and-run death of Villanova student

September 30, 2010 2:15:33 PM PDT
Police say they have made an arrest in the hit and run crash that killed one Villanova student and left another critically injured.

21-year-old Kenneth Woods from Aspen Street in West Philadelphia is charged with 3rd degree murder, aggravated assault and involuntary manslaughter.

Woods was picked up at his home late Wednesday night. Action News is told he surrendered without incident.

Investigators say they've recovered his palm prints from the steering wheel of the stolen Range Rover that hit the students' car. Woods' fingerprints were also recovered from one of the windows, police said.

In addition, police say they also found a cell phone in the SUV, with what appeared to be a picture of Woods. The officer who initially spotted the stolen SUV was able to identify the man in the picture as the same man he saw behind the wheel just before the crash.

After his arraignment, Woods said he wasn't driving the SUV at the time of the crash.

Woods has several previous arrests on drug and assault charges in Philadelphia.

Action News has learned that there may have been an accomplice and there may be another arrest in this case.

Woods was held on $1 million cash bail.

Police believe Woods was involved in the theft of a Range Rover SUV that crashed into the back of a Volkswagen carrying two Villanova students, killing one and critically injuring another.

Killed in the crash was 21-year-old Dan Giletta of Wyckoffe, New Jersey. Giletta's best friend, 22-year-old Pat DiChiara, was critically injured in the wreck.

Police say an officer spotted the stolen Range Rover at Haverford and Darby Roads. When he tried to run the plates, police say, that SUV took off reaching speeds of a hundred miles an hour before it crashed into the back of the Volkswagen, flipping it into a stone wall and trapping the young men inside.

On Wednesday night, Villanova students packed the Saint Thomas Chapel on campus to pray for Giletta and DiChiara. After the service, close friends departed with tears streaming down their faces. Most were too heart-broken to talk on camera but told us they will remember Giletta as a bright humble young man who enjoyed life.

Students are turning to each other during this time of tremendous grief.

"There's not really much else we can do," said Villanova senior Ali Piechoski. "But it is heartening to see how many people are coming together for this and it's a good thing."

Fellow senior Glenn McGillivray tell us, "That's one thing that Villanova stands for is we're a close knit community. So, when something like this happens we stick together."

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