Police looking for driver after 16-year-old passenger killed in Roosevelt Boulevard crash

"It clearly appears that speed was a factor," according to Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022
Police: Driver in stolen car flees after crash; teen passenger killed
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Police say the driver of the Kia was able to get out of the heavily damaged vehicle and, even though he was limping, fled eastbound on foot leaving his passenger.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Police are looking for a driver who they say flipped a stolen car in a high-speed crash on Roosevelt Boulevard and left his dying 16-year-old passenger in the roadway.

The crash happened around 11:45 p.m. Monday.

Police say the 2021 Kia was stolen two days before from a location just blocks away from the crash site in the Feltonville section of Philadelphia.

"It clearly appears that speed was a factor," according to Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small.

A witness told police that the driver of a speeding Kia clipped the back of a 2006 Honda, which had been sitting at a red light at Roosevelt Boulevard and Rising Sun Avenue.

The impact caused the driver of the Kia to lose control and roll over several times.

While the Kia was flipping, police say the teenage passenger in the Kia was ejected and thrown onto the roadway.

The passenger was subsequently pronounced dead by first responders. The victim was identified as 16-year-old Naim Castelberry.

Police say the driver of the Kia was able to get out of the heavily damaged vehicle and, even though he was limping, fled eastbound on foot leaving his passenger.

"More than likely the reason the driver of the Kia fled the scene of the accident was due to the vehicle (being) in stolen status," Small said.

The 29-year-old driver of the Honda was taken to Einstien Medical Center in stable condition. Small said he was cooperating with investigators.

Witness Elvin Gonzalez had been sitting in his minivan, parked at a nearby Dunkin', when the Kia slammed into the Honda.

"The spare tire from that vehicle actually flew and hit my vehicle, and actually scraped up the hood and knocked out my side mirror. It was weird; the impact was so fast," said Gonzalez.

He added, "The driver fled before I could even try to catch up to him. So then I ran to the passenger, but it was too late. There was nothing I could do for him."

Police are reviewing cameras in the area for a description of the driver.

Castelberry attended Dobbins Technical High School.

On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the School District of Philadelphia said in a statement: "We are heartbroken to learn about the passing of a Dobbins student, whose life was tragically lost last night as a result of an automobile accident. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the students involved. To support the emotional needs of our students, we have counseling and support services available for those who may need assistance coping with this grief."

Police are investigating if the stolen Kia is related to a TikTok social media challenge that involves using a USB cord to hot wire the cars. They say there has been a rise in stolen Kias as a result of the challenge.

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