Police ID Wharton student killed in Walnut Street accident

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May 8, 2014 8:50:48 AM PDT
Action News has learned the identity of the University of Pennsylvania graduate student who was thrown from an elevated section of Walnut Street.

Police have identified the victim as 27-year-old Zachary Woods of Monroe, New York.

Woods had just started his studies Monday at the Wharton School's Lauder Institute in a two year program focused on international business.

The Middlebury College graduate, fluent in Chinese, was also an Ast General Manager for New York City Regional Center - an organization that, among other things, helps find foreign Capital for US projects.

Wednesday morning the Wharton School tweeted: "We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of one of our students, and pause to express our condolences to his family and friends."

Woods moved from New York to Philadelphia to attend Wharton, and reportedly began his studies at the Wharton School on Monday.

The crash happened at 9:54 a.m. Tuesday at the intersection of 30th and Walnut Streets.

Police tell Action News they believe a blue Mercury Montego was heading south on 30th Street at a high rate of speed. It then blew through the red light at the intersection with Walnut Street and collided with a red Toyota Camry.

University City Police Supt. Maureen Rush explains, "The red car is going westbound on Walnut... T-bones the blue car. The blue car then is propelled, because it's at such a fast rate of speed, according to witnesses, into the cement."

At the moment of impact Woods was on the sidewalk in the path of the oncoming Mercury. A witness told police that Woods tried to climb a traffic signal pole to avoid being struck.

"Grabs onto the traffic light, and unfortunately the dark car hits the traffic light and the traffic light, with the man on it, goes down under the Walnut Street Bridge here," Rush said.

Woods and the traffic signal flew over the Walnut Street Bridge safety rail and landed on the pavement, almost 40 feet below, where a city water crew was working.

He was rushed to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) in critical condition, but succumbed to his injuries approximately 12 hours after the crash.

The 43-year-old driver of the Mercury, identified as Guy Andrews of 4800 block of Chester Avenue, was critically injured. He was also taken to HUP to be treated for head and leg injuries.

Police say pill bottles were found inside the Mercury, and now investigators are waiting the results of a blood test.

69-year-old Richard Freed of Bridgeport, who was behind the wheel of the Camry, was hospitalized in stable condition. Freed was said to be helping police figure out what exactly happened.

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