Philly cops pressing for hit-and-run drivers to turn themselves in

 Capt. John Wilczynski reaches out to the community to identify two drivers in hit an run accidents involving children. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Capt. John Wilczynski reaches out to the community to identify two drivers in hit an run accidents involving children. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

A warm summer evening in Philadelphia turned deadly tragedy Monday night when a four-year-old boy playing in his front yard ran between two parked cars out into the street and was struck and killed by a car.

The night turned disgusting as the driver of the late model black Ford Edge SUV that killed the boy then fled the scene.

“This time of year we’re going have these youngsters, it’s nice out, it’s spring time, they’re going to run out there in the street, it happens every spring and summer” said Philadelphia Police Captain John Wilczynski at a press conference Tuesday morning “But people have a responsibility to stop, it’s usually just an accident.”

“For whatever reason this woman didn’t stop. She needs to do the right thing and turn herself in and give us some kind of explanation,” added Wilczynski. “I’m confident that the person knows that they hit a child.”

The incident happened around 6:30 p.m. at the corner of 57th and Litchfield streets in the Kingsessing area of South Philly. Based on witness accounts, officers believe the car was moving at a reasonable rate of speed.

Wilczynski said that video footage of the incident left investigators, “pretty shaken up,” but also gave cops a few promising leads.  The driver was described as a black female, and the model of the car between a 2011 and 2014 black Ford Edge SUV with an all chrome front.

Mayor Nutter has offered a $20,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest.

Less than a half hour after the South Philly incident, a 19-year-old woman carrying her 2-year-old child and walking across a North Philadelphia street was struck by a speeding white Acura or Infiniti.

Again, the driver of the vehicle fled the scene.

Both mother and child were taken to a local hospital, where they remain in critical condition.

That incident happened near the corner of N. Mascher St. and Lehigh Ave. Wilczynski said a significant number of storefront cameras on Lehigh where the fleeing vehicle turned give the police hope in tracking down the driver. 

The white car uffered some front-end damage and a broken tail light, pieces the police hope will give them a better lead as well.

He said the department had already received at least ten 911 calls regarding the incident.

“What we really need for both of these is the public’s help,” said Wilczynski. “The public has been good in the past when it comes to young victims like this, we usually get a lot of good tips and that’s what we’re hoping for this case.”

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal