Driver sought in fatal SW Phila. hit-and-run

Deanna Teal
December 5, 2012 7:45:03 AM PST
Police say they have found the vehicle involved in a deadly hit-and-run crash in Southwest Philadelphia, but the search continues for the driver.

Police were called around 10:25 p.m. to the 4800 block of Chester Avenue for a report of a hit-and-run.

Arriving officers found the victim, 52-year-old Deanna Teal, on the ground. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The search soon began for the person responsible.

Police were looking for a grey Chevrolet SUV with heavy front-end damage that fled east on Chester Avenue. They discovered it nearby on the 4700 block of Larchwood Avenue.

A police officer had noticed antifreeze and markings on the street, and then followed the trail about six blocks to the Chevrolet Trailblazer, which authorities believe to be the striking vehicle.

Witness Melissa Williams and her fiancee were there as the crash happened.

"He hit somebody and we went down there and we were like 'That's a body, that's a body,'" Williams said.

Her fiancee shot video of the scene, which is so graphic Action News declined to broadcast it.

Soon after, she learned the body was that of her friend.

"And then when they showed us the ID, I knew her and I freaked out," said Williams.

The man who claimed to be the victim's boyfriend, James McClennan, was back at the scene after identifying her at the city morgue. He begged the person responsible to surrender.

"Please come forward. That's all I got to say," McClennan said.

He said he thought the victim arrived home after they had gone to a park on Baltimore Avenue.

"We was walking together down 49th Street and I crossed over and I got halfway up the block and she was right there at the corner getting ready to cross over. That's when I turned my head and I didn't look back no more. I got to the house and she never came behind me," McClennan said.

The victim's housemates also thought she was home until early Tuesday morning.

"I got a call at 1:00 this morning saying there was an accident. Then a friend of mine's daughter, that works at the hospital, said that she was killed. So, I called the coroner's office and they confirmed it," said housemate Jackie Cummings.

Cummings also had a message for the driver.

"Be a man and step up. This is a woman with a daughter and six grandchildren," she said.

The search continues for the person behind the wheel. So far, there is no word on if any surveillance footage was found that could help in this case. However, investigators tell Action News that whoever was behind the wheel was travelling at an excessive rate of speed.


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