Driver, 18, admits hitting Temple Univ. student, fleeing scene, police say

NORTH PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia police say an 18-year-old man has come forward and admitted striking a Temple University student, then leaving the scene Wednesday night.

The man came forward sometime Thursday morning, police say, less than 12 hours after they recovered the silver Mitsubishi Galant that struck and critically injured Temple University senior Rachel Hall as she was riding her bike in North Philadelphia.

Investigators say the suspect has a learner's permit, not a full driver's license, and told them that's why he fled the scene after the incident.

"He told us he was afraid and panicked and left," said Philadelphia Police Captain John Wilczynski. "But he did come clean today and give us all the details of the crash."

The man, whom police have not identified, had not yet been formally charged, but police said charges were expected to be filed soon.

They said both the suspect and his father, who owns the striking vehicle, were cooperating fully with the investigation.

The incident happened around 7:00 p.m. Wednesday at the intersection of North Park Avenue and Diamond Street.

Police say Hall, 22, from Mullica Hill, N.J., was riding a mountain bike when she was struck. She was thrown several feet after the car hit her, leaving her with head and leg injuries.

She remains in critical condition at Temple University Hospital.

Her father told Action News Hall is a senior, set to graduate from the university next week. She was a goalkeeper for Temple's lacrosse team, majored in Criminal Justice and hopes to become a police officer.

Hall had just finished dinner and was on her way to study for finals when she was struck, her father said.

Police believe three men were in the striking vehicle. Witnesses said the driver stopped at first but didn't remain at the scene for long.

"We are getting initial information that after the vehicle stopped, possibly the passenger in the rear seat encouraged the driver to leave the scene," said Chief Inspector Scott Small, Philadelphia Police early Thursday.

Police say that was a criminal move.

The entire incident was recorded by several Temple University surveillance cameras.

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