Driver charged with killing pedestrian

July 3, 2008 3:41:19 PM PDT
A deadly traffic accident in North Philadelphia has left a family grieving, and police say the driver responsible should never have been behind the wheel. "They just came around the block and the cops told me she was gone."

Those are the words of Miguel Custadio as he mourns Wednesday night's sudden death of his mother Sophia Vargas. She was 50. She was killed in a DUI catastrophe on 5th Street between Clearfield and Indiana. She was waiting to catch the bus when she was hit by a Honda which had jumped the curb.

The driver of that Honda police say was 50 year old Allen Cooper, a.k.a. Kenneth Cooper. About 7:30 p.m., police say Cooper ran the red light at Clearfield, hitting the front of a Chevy driven by a young mother with her 2 children. They escaped injury.

It was them that he continued northbound on 5th Street, mounted the sidewalk and hit Mrs. Vargas, according to police officer Deborah Kiker.

Sofia Vargas's family says she was headed to a friend's house. Her son spoke to her a few hours before it happened. Vargas' niece, Ruth Ortiz, says her aunt was a beautiful person who was into church and just loved everybody.

Police arrested Cooper at the scene, and after blood testing, threw the book at him. Captain Michael Murphy said Cooper faces charges including homicide by vehicle and homicide while DUI.

They say he is a career criminal with a rap sheet dating back to the mid-80's, which includes assault, concealed weapons, arson, burglary and rape. Police say he also has a lengthy record of driving infractions and was driving without a license Wednesday night.

Sources tell Action News Cooper has admitted he was bombed when this accident occurred, after drinking beer and consuming at least 2 kinds of prescription drugs, painkillers, namely Percocet and Vicodin.

Cooper remains in police custody. Sources say the district attorney may decide to file even stronger charges against him for the death of Sofia Vargas.