Suspect charged in fatal hit-and-run accident in Upper Darby

UPPER DARBY TWP., Pa. - January 8, 2014

58-year-old Ernest Marks of 1500 block of North Felton Street in Philadelphia was arraigned Wednesday on charges of causing an accident leading to death or injury.

Bail was set at $1 million cash.

Police say Marks turned himself in Tuesday after seeing media reports about the case, and that he confessed to striking 69-year-old Richard Patterson Sunday night.

Marks has 8 prior arrests, most of them for drugs. Authorities say he was driving with a suspended license Sunday and was wanted for a probation violation for a drug conviction.

"Basically, he says that he hit something. He didn't know what he hit. He took off because he had a suspended driver's license and he saw in the media all the attention it was getting. He figured it was him and he turned himself in," Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said.

The crash happened at 5:07 p.m. Sunday on Providence Road near Arbor Lea Road in the Hilldale section of Upper Darby Township.

Police say Patterson had been out looking for his poodle, which had run from his yard. He had located the dog before they were both struck and killed.

On Monday, police released surveillance of the white mid-sized sedan. On Tuesday, after Marks surrendered, police found the heavily damaged 2000 Acura parked not far from his West Philadelphia home.

Police say he never should have been behind the wheel.

"His driving record over the years shows that he has had 11 motor vehicle suspensions," Chitwood said.

Prosecutors charged him Wednesday with Accident Involving Death or Personal Injury but are hoping to upgrade the charges.

"This is homicide. You got a 4,000 pound vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed, killing somebody, and them leaving them lay on the highway without any stop. That's murder," Chitwood said.

Patterson leaves behind a wife and three children.

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