Witness recounts dying man’s final moments after being struck by van in East Germantown

    When Allyn Yeiser heard the sound of screeching metal outside of his East Germantown home Sunday night, he feared someone had hit his truck.

    Seconds later, though, as he peered out of his living room window, he realized something far worse had happened.

    “When I opened up the curtain I saw a car on its side. It was in the dirt, up against a church wall,” said Yeiser, who was watching the news at the time.

    Concerned the smoking car might catch fire, Yeiser’s wife Akyshia called 911. Allyn headed onto his front porch to survey the scene. After scanning through the darkness, he noticed a man lying on the sidewalk across the street. He raced over.

    • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

    “I was screaming, ‘Old head. old head, you hear me?'” said Allyn.

    The man was barely breathing and bleeding from his mouth. Allyn waited with him until police arrived at 44 E. Price St.

    “I just was trying to have hope,” said Allyn. “It was crazy.”

    The man died soon afterwards at Albert Einstein Medical Center, according to police.

    Further details about the incident are scant at this time. According to officials, a car driving westbound on Price Street careened onto the sidewalk around 6:40 p.m. and flipped over after striking the 59-year-old pedestrian, Cornell Edens. Edens was pronounced dead at 7:05 p.m.

    Officer Christine O’Brien said the driver and a passenger fled the scene after the crash, but circled back later, perhaps on foot, after police had arrived. She said the pair were taken into custody, but have not been charged yet.

    Allyn hopes justice is served, but remains haunted by the fatal incident.

    “Ain’t no coming back from that,” he said.

    Joe Ellison, who lives on the 200 block of Price Street, was also shaken as he looked over the carnage.

    “I travel this way myself,” said Ellison in front of a sidewalk strewn with shattered glass, a front fender and curled up sections of an iron fence that was no match for the impact. “It could have been me.”

    WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

    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