Driver in custody for crash that left husband and wife dead in Bucks County

The driver, 31-year-old John Wadlinger of Croydon, was seen exiting the vehicle and fleeing the area on foot.

Walter Perez Image
Tuesday, February 27, 2024
Alleged hit-and-run driver in custody for crash that left 2 dead, 2 injured in Bucks County
Alleged hit-and-run driver in custody for crash that left 2 dead, 2 injured in Bucks County

BRISTOL TWP., Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- An alleged hit-and-run driver is in custody after two people were killed and two others were injured in a Bucks County car crash on Saturday.

It happened at the intersection of Veterans Highway and Ford Road in Bristol Township, Pennsylvania, around 1:30 p.m.

Surveillance video shows a black Ford Explorer speeding along Ford Road.

The Explorer is then seen striking a red Nissan Sentra at the intersection.

The video also shows the scene approximately 100 feet down Ford Road, where the careening SUV came to a stop.

The driver, identified as 31-year-old John Wadlinger of Croydon, is then seen exiting the vehicle and fleeing the area on foot.

31-year-old John Wadlinger of Croydon

Bristol Township Police Lieutenant Sean Cosgrove says he didn't get very far.

"He stole a tri-axle dump truck that was parked in a nearby industrial area," Cosgrove recalled. "He drove that a short distance before losing control of it and overturning it, fleeing on foot again before being taken into custody."

There were four passengers in the Nissan during the crash and two of them died at the scene, police say. The other two passengers were transported to Jefferson-Torresdale Hospital for their injuries.

The two passengers who died were identified as Richard and Rebecca Whiddon of Brooklyn, Connecticut. The two were married back in 2017.

Rebecca and Richard Whiddon of Brooklyn, Connecticut

Police say they were in the area visiting a friend.

The third passenger remains hospitalized in critical condition, and amazingly, the driver of the Nissan walked away with only minor injuries.

The owner of Beach's Hardware, located at the intersection where the crash happened, says it's hard to believe anyone survived.

"It was probably the loudest accident I've heard at this intersection in 25-plus years which, there's been some pretty decent accidents but unfortunately, I think this one is probably the worst I've personally witnessed," the owner told Action News.

Even police say this collision was particularly difficult to investigate.

"This is a tough one," Cosgrove noted. "You don't see things like that a lot. A married couple who comes to visit this area is killed tragically. No, this is not something I've dealt with a lot, something this bad."

Authorities tell Action News that Wadlinger is being held on a detainer linked to a past conviction, which is not connected to this recent crash.

As of Monday night, formal charges in connection with the crash are still pending.