Homeless woman in wheelchair killed by hit-and-run driver in North Philadelphia

NORTH PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Police have identified the driver charged after a homeless woman in a wheelchair was struck and killed in North Philadelphia.

Twenty-nine-year-old Andrew Acito of Glenolden, Pennsylvania, is facing multiple charges including homicide by vehicle, homicide by vehicle while DUI and related offenses.

The incident happened around 1:40 a.m. Saturday at Mascher Street and Lehigh Avenue.

Police say Acito was traveling eastbound in a Ford F-250 pick-up truck on Lehigh Avenue when he struck 37-year-old Elaine Heyl, who was in the center median of the roadway at Mascher Street.

She was rushed to Temple University Hospital where she was pronounced dead at 2:11 a.m.

Residents left mementos Sunday for the woman they say was a homeless amputee.

"It shocked me because I came through here like 3 o' clock yesterday, and I'm riding down the street. I'm expecting when I get up there I can see her," said a man who identified himself as Greg.

"It's horrible because she was veteran. Someone that can just get behind the wheel, drink and drive, run over one of our veterans and keep going," said Michael Ebel of Kensington.

Acito apparently continued driving eastbound before allegedly hitting an 18-year-old female pedestrian.

He didn't stop to help her either.

A few blocks from the scene, Acito was pulled over for running a red light. Police discovered the truck was involved in the hit-and-run crash.

He was then taken into custody.

The second victim was able to positively identify Acito's pick-up truck as the striking vehicle. She was also taken to Temple, and treated for minor injuries.

According to court records, Acito has a history of drunk driving behind the wheel, and other motor vehicle offenses.

"...Once you get caught drinking and driving once that should be it," said Ebel.

People in the neighborhood say this isn't the first auto-pedestrian accident at the intersection. They tell us they are hoping the latest incident will bring attention to what they call a dangerous intersection.
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