Driver charged in crash that killed music teacher in S. Philly

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A local music teacher was killed in a crash that police say was caused by a drunk driver.

The driver of a car that sideswiped multiple vehicles in South Philadelphia over the weekend, leaving a local music teacher dead, has been charged.

Anthony Russino, 59, of the 2600 block of South Jessup Street, is charged with Homicide by Vehicle and DUI.

He is also charged with Tampering with Evidence. Police say he tried to take the license plate off his car after the crash.

Caroline Morgan, 56, of the 2300 block of S. 15th Street, was killed in the crash on Saturday afternoon on South 13th Street.

It happened just after 3 p.m.

Action News was told over the weekend that Morgan had just finished running errands on her break and was sitting in her Fiat when Russino allegedly sideswiped four parked cars. Police say Morgan's was the last to be hit.

"She'd probably just parked it and was about to get out. Seconds could've made the difference," said Jennifer Hackbarth, a colleague of Morgan's.

Witnesses say when Russino stumbled out of his car, he reeked of alcohol.

"He had gotten out of his car and went back and forth a couple of times, and people were telling him to sit down on the side of the street over there," said a witness who didn't want to be identified.

Police were able to arrest the suspect just a few blocks from the scene.

It took stunned neighbors nearly 20 minutes before they realized someone was gravely injured inside of one of the cars.

"Immediately everyone started calling the police over again and people went and held her hand," said the witness.

Word got back to Morgan's job and soon Hackbarth got a frantic call from her boss. He needed to get a hold of Morgan's husband who lived just blocks away from her.

"At that time we only knew that she was in critical condition, but by the time Doug got to the hospital it was too late," said Hackbarth.

The victim's husband was too grief stricken to go on camera.
"Doug really just felt like he couldn't get any closure because she was already gone when he got there. He wasn't able to hold her hand or say goodbye or anything," said Hackbarth.

With this senseless loss, Jennifer says she's gained a new perspective on life and just how tragically fragile it can be.

"Make sure that you tell them you love them, and just make sure they always know that you love them in case you never see them again," said Hackbarth.

Investigators are looking into whether the deployment of the airbag was what ultimately killed the woman.
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