Driver charged with smashing stolen car through Bala Cynwyd store

April 26, 2013 3:04:01 PM PDT
Police have identified the driver arrested after a car smashed through a store following a brief police chase in Bala Cynwyd, Montgomery County.

23-year-old Kentrell Darry Ceasar of the 6900 block of Woodland Avenue in Southwest Philadelphia has been charged with Driving Under the Influence, Fleeing and Attempting to Elude Police, Driving at Safe Speed, Receiving Stolen Property, Reckless Endangerment, Reckless Driving, Resisting Arrest, Institutional Vandalism and Aggravated Harassment by a prisoner.

Lower Merion Police say Ceasar was driving a stolen 2007 black Volkswagen Jetta on Wednesday at 12:37 p.m. when he stopped at the intersection of Highland Avenue and Raynham Road, blocking traffic.

As an officer pulled up behind the car to investigate, police say Ceasar took off north on North Highland Avenue. The officer pursed him.

Police say the officer caught up with Ceasar after he had crashed the Jetta into the Walls and Windows store at 171 Bala Avenue.

North Highland Avenue ends at Bala Avenue just across from the store. Police say Ceasar failed to stop or turn onto Bala Avenue and, instead, continued straight into the business.

Police say Ceasar had gotten out of the car, which came to rest about 15 feet inside the store, and was walking away from the accident scene as the pursuing officer pulled up. Ceasar was arrested by other officers who converged on the scene.

He was taken to Lankenau Hospital and treated for minor injures.


Surveillance video released on the day of the crash showed the moment of impact. Witnesses told Action News the driver didn't even try to slow down.

"I was actually walking out of a restaurant, from having a cup of coffee, and within seconds I hear a screech and an explosion," one witness said. "It was pretty intense."

There were two women working in the store, and they normally sit at the front counter - just on the other side of the window.

But, when the car hit, they just happened to be in the back of the store.

"It came right through and knocked out the window. I had the phone in my hand to call 911 and, as I was talking to the operator - I wasn't being clear, I was upset - I heard the sirens," said Elena Costello. "I jumped into the bathroom because I was afraid that whoever was in the car would get out of the car. It scared me."

People came running, fearing the worst. They were relieved to find the store employees uninjured.

"One was just shaken up, you could tell she was terrified. I walked up and walked her out of the building and pretty much escorted them out of there and made sure they were okay and safe," said Greg Straff.

He took a picture of the car in the store, showing just how lucky Elena and her co-worker are.

Straff also took a picture of the suspect as he was forced to the ground and handcuffed. Witnesses say he appeared to be 'out of it.'

"He was pretty high, the guy. He was on something," said Seth Straff. "He said 'I stole the car and I almost got away with it."

No one in the store or on the street was injured.