Suspect identified in deadly hit-and-run rampage in Philadelphia and Montgomery County

One woman died and several others were injured in the crime spree that stretched from the city to the suburbs.

Thursday, July 29, 2021
Suspect arrested after deadly hit-and-run spree in Philly, Montco
A hit-and-run rampage suspect allegedly tied to five incidents in Philadelphia and Montgomery County has been arrested. Police say one woman died in the crime spree.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The suspect involved in a series of hit-and-run crashes in Philadelphia and Montgomery County that killed a woman and injured four others has been taken into custody.

Police tracked down the male suspect around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday at 3rd and Park avenues near Main Street in Collegeville. He has been identified as Kareem Welton, 40, of Philadelphia.

Before his arrest, Welton is accused of hitting 38-year-old Kyle Hilligass who was running on the 300 block of East Main Street around 5:54 a.m, according to investigators in Montgomery County.

Kareem Welton

A witness told police Welton purposely swerved from the westbound lanes into the eastbound lanes to strike Hillkigass, breaking his back and legs. He is expected to survive.

"Kyle really just wants to again know how thankful he is to the people who were there to help him. He knows that they were there and he couldn't be more grateful for the help they provided," said his wife, Jess Hilligass.

Montgomery County DA Kevin Steele said, "This defendant was not only driving recklessly and at a high rate of speed, but he intentionally targeted the runner and hit him, attempting to kill him."

A hit-and-run rampage suspect allegedly tied to five incidents in Philadelphia and Montgomery County has been arrested. Police say one woman died in the crime spree.

More than four hours earlier, calls came in to 911 around 2:11 a.m. about a driver of a Chevy Malibu rear-ending a motorcycle at Broad and Lombard streets in Philadelphia, police said.

According to authorities, a 29-year-old man was driving the motorcycle with a 28-year-old woman on the back when the crash occurred. The man denied medical treatment. Police said the woman suffered bumps and bruises and was being treated at a local hospital.

The hit-and-run driver struck a motorcycle carrying two people in Center City Philadelphia.

After hitting the motorcycle, police said Welton continued nearby to 15th and South streets. That's where he's accused of driving onto the sidewalk and running over a 32-year-old woman walking with a male coworker.

That coworker was walking his bicycle next to her after the two got off from work at Steak 48 restaurant, not far from the crash scene, police said.

He was able to dive out of the way, with the car brushing his leg, but the woman and his bicycle were struck.

Police said Welton turned around, drove back onto the sidewalk, and ran over the woman a second time. She later died of her injuries. The woman has not been identified.

But before he fled the scene, police and witnesses said Welton stopped the car, got out and stole the woman's purse and dog.

Action News has obtained the following surveillance video of the fatal hit-and-run. We have edited the video, however, viewer discretion is still advised:

VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED: Video shows the suspect drive onto the sidewalk and strike the 32-year-old woman before turning around and hitting her again.

Steak 48 did not open Wednesday because employees were so devastated by the death of their coworker.

Welton continued driving a block away to Broad and South where he left the car behind, police said.

Investigators said the suspect was shirtless and wearing grey shorts.

They said he stole the Chevy around midnight and was possibly under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

People who claim to be Welton's family told investigators he was having a psychotic episode earlier in the night and was asking for mental care, but stole the car and hit the victims.

"The person that family members and friends believe was driving the vehicle that they're saying that person was under the influence on some sort of narcotics, possibly alcohol or a combination of both," Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said.

Philadelphia police say a man in a stolen car struck a woman twice in Center City.

Police said Welton was then involved in another hit-and-run crash, driving another stolen vehicle in Roxborough around 5:30 a.m.

It happened at Umbria and Hermitage streets. Police said the victim in this is incident was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Police then followed Welton into Collegeville where he struck another person.

The hit-and-run rampage in Philadelphia led police to Collegeville, Montgomery County.

Welton was apprehended after pulling into an Exxon station in Trappe. He got out of the car and removed the stolen puppy from the backseat. He then attempted to steal a bicycle but was confronted by the owner. Police took Welton into custody without incident.

According to the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office, Welton is being charged with attempted murder, and aggravated assault related to a hit-and-run on Main Street. He will face a slew of other charges related to the incidents in Philadelphia.