Police: Man fleeing accident scene dies after driving into Delaware River

A man is dead after driving into the Delaware River.
A man is dead after police say he drove his car into the Delaware River near Penn's Landing.

Police say a Volkswagen SUV barreled down a ramp under the Market Street overpass near Penn's Landing Monday afternoon when it crashed into a barrier and went airborne into the Delaware River.

"I just saw him flying through the air with the truck and the back hatch opened up and it went straight into the water," witness Marc Didonato said.

A Philadelphia police officer, a member of the Bomb Disposal Unit, saw the man drive into the river.

He along with two Good Samaritans jumped into the water in hopes of saving the male driver who was trapped beneath.

"They were in the river when I arrived. One of them had his hand, but he couldn't get him out," Philadelphia Fire Battalion Chief Robert Clark said.

The Philadelphia Fire Department then arrived on the scene.

With time of the essence, two firemen jumped in with no gear, diving repeatedly, and located the driver.

He was transported to Jefferson University Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Police say prior to ending up in the river, it appeared the driver was in an accident at 4th and Arch streets, but fled the scene.

Police and witnesses say the driver was traveling at a high rate of speed.

"Had to be doing about 100, 110, hit the wall and went straight into the water," Didonato said.

A tow truck was brought in to pull the vehicle, with its airbags deployed and front end damaged, from the water.

The SUV is now in the hands of the Philadelphia Police Department.
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