A woman and three children were killed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, when a suspected robber fleeing in a car jumped a curb and struck them, police said Thursday.
“He literally cut a tree in half,” Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said, “then hit the 1-year-old, [who] was in a stroller. The other individuals were on the front porch of their own home. He struck with such force that it knocked the concrete steps loose.” Latoya Smith, 22, died Thursday from injuries in the crash, which occurred shortly after 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Fentonville area of north Philadelphia, police Capt. James Clark said. Smith’s daughter, Remedy Smith — who would have turned 1 on Friday — died at the scene, as did Alicia Griffin, 6, and Gina Rosario, 7, Clark said. Video of the scene showed a crumpled silver Pontiac on the sidewalk, pushed up against the front steps of a house and wedged against a tree. Watch police commissioner describe carnage » Donta Cradock, 18, the alleged driver of the gray Pontiac, faces charges for theft of a motorcycle, the crime that allegedly triggered his flight, police said. Other charges are pending approval from the district attorney’s office, police said. “We’re hopeful that it will be four counts of murder,” Clark said. Cradock and an alleged accomplice, Ivan Rodriguez, 20, stole a motorcycle at gunpoint around 7:30 p.m., he said. Rodriguez fled the scene on the motorcycle, while Cradock drove away in the Pontiac, Clark said. An unidentified person told a traffic police officer in the area about the alleged robbery and pointed out the Pontiac, he said. The police officer followed the car and tried to stop it at a traffic light, Clark said. “At that point the Pontiac fled at a high rate of speed,” he said. The officer followed the vehicle, but lost sight of it, Clark said. The officer was not close enough to chase the car, police said, but eventually came across what Clark called a “horrific accident.” Cradock was thrown from the Pontiac and is in the hospital, Clark said. He said a gun was recovered on the suspect. Rodriguez was arrested at his home, Clark said, and faces a theft charge. Both men have “very extensive criminal histories,” Ramsey said.
Bench warrants were out on them at the time of their arrest, Clark said. It was not immediately clear if the two had retained attorneys.