Teen who allegedly hit tourists: "I'm sorry"

July 11, 2008 3:53:06 PM PDT
The young man says he was on his way home after visiting a friend in the hospital when the two victims ran into his path before he could react. He says he's not reckless, but our investigation reveals a disturbing record.

"I'm not a drinker. I don't want you to think that I went out and recklessly drove into people. No, that's not my style," said 18-year old suspect Joseph Genovese of South Philadelphia.

Genovese says he was sober when he ran down two women crossing Broad Street Thursday night.

But, police say he was driving under the influence.

Cindy Grassi and Sandra Wacker had come to Philadelphia from St. Louis to cheer on their Cardinals against the Phillies.

A couple of hours after yesterday's game, they were crossing Broad Street when Genovese slammed into them.

"I was going through the yellow light and I slowed down and they must not have seen me, I must have not seen them. They were running through the street and I hit them and I stopped and I panicked," Genovese said.

Witnesses told police Genovese appeared to be racing the red light.

Action News has learned that he has an arrest record that goes back to when he was just 13.

Over the years Genovese has been arrested 10 times for an array of crimes, including attempted murder.

That charge was dismissed recently for lack of evidence.

He is currently facing a drug possession charge with a hearing scheduled for later this month.

Genovese's mother Laura says he's not a reckless kid.

"Most of the time he's a teenager, and he does funny things or comes in late sometimes, but basically, no."

Last year Genovese's parents called the police to their house saying Joseph was tearing up the place.

The police say he was violent and threatened them, telling one officer, "I'll run right into your family."

Yesterday he ran into Grassi and Wacker, two teachers from St. Louis on a road trip with their favorite baseball team. Genovese says it was just an accident.

He says he's sorry, and he's praying for the victims and their families.

"That's the most important thing is I pray for the people that I hit. It was an accident, and I'm praying for the family and I'm saying sorry to the family."

Genovese has been charged with aggravated assault while driving under the influence. Police say he failed a field sobriety test and they are waiting for blood test results that may show evidence of drug use.