Teen facing murder charge in stolen car crash that killed Philadelphia motorcyclist

Police say the victim is a 55-year-old man.

Thursday, May 30, 2024
Teen facing murder charge in stolen car crash that killed Philadelphia motorcyclist
Teen facing murder charge in stolen car crash that killed Philadelphia motorcyclist

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Five teenagers are in custody, including one who is facing a murder charge, in connection with a stolen car crash that left a motorcyclist dead in Philadelphia.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner identified the 17-year-old driver of the stolen vehicle as Bryce Neely.

Neely will be facing 11 total offenses, eight of which are felonies. Some of those charges include third-degree murder, homicide by vehicle, and theft.

Officers say the collision happened on Front Street at Hunting Park Avenue at approximately 8 p.m. on Tuesday.

Officers say a stolen Kia SUV was traveling north on Front Street when it ran a red light and struck a silver Harley Davidson motorcycle traveling west on Hunting Park Avenue. The crumpled motorcycle slid several feet before coming to a stop.

"The operator of the (stolen) motor vehicle slowed but did not stop at a number of traffic devices, ran multiple lights before where the fatal crash occurred," noted Assistant District Attorney Anthony Voci during the press conference.

Investigators later learned that the Kia had been reported stolen on Monday from Northeast Philadelphia.
Investigators later learned that the Kia had been reported stolen on Monday from Northeast Philadelphia.

The motorcycle driver, identified as 55-year-old Wilberto Casillas of Philadelphia, was pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators say he did not appear to be wearing a helmet.

Video shows the moments before the fatal crash.

Krasner would not say whether officers were chasing the five teenagers in the stolen Kia, but we see a lot of it play out on video.

In surveillance video, a small white Kia SUV matching the description of the suspect vehicle is seen making a right onto Front Street from Erie Avenue minutes before the fatal collision.

The Kia was being closely followed by three police cruisers and a van, all of which had their lights on.

In a statement released late Wednesday, authorities announced that two responding Philadelphia officers in this incident were placed on administrative duty as the department investigates what happened before the crash.

After the collision, however, the Kia continued down Front Street for about 1,000 feet before pulling over. Then, the driver and other occupants in the car fled the scene on foot, according to investigators.

Small told Action News that officers were on the scene moments after the crash took place.

"Some officers immediately went to aid the motorcycle operator because they realized he was lying on the highway," Small said. "Some officers went to aid that driver and other officers chased the juveniles that fled from the Kia on foot. They did a great job and apprehended all five of them."

Officers say they pursued five juveniles on foot for about two blocks.

That's when Neely was taken into custody.

The other teens, all females between the ages of 14 and 17, were also apprehended. They are all facing charges of receiving stolen property, conspiracy, evading arrest, and unauthorized use of motor a vehicle.

Investigators later learned that the Kia had been reported stolen on Monday from Northeast Philadelphia and are looking into whether this might've been a situation similar to the "Kia Boys" challenge where people steal older model Kias.

People who knew the motorcyclist were emotional at the scene. They were seen hugging and crying as police conducted their investigation.

55-year-old Wilberto Casillas of Philadelphia
55-year-old Wilberto Casillas of Philadelphia

"This is a strong man, this is somebody who did not deserve something so tragic and public," noted Emerald Martez, a close family friend of the victim who referred to him as Uncle Will.

"He's not one of those riders who speeds, runs stoplights or red lights," Martez added.

According to Krasner, Casillas left behind a wife and daughter. Martez also said the victim was a grandfather.

Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact the police.

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