Fleeing Car Hits Philly Crowd, Killing 3 Children

June 10, 2009 11:26:47 PM PDT
A vehicle involved in a motorcycle robbery struck a group of pedestrians killing three young children.

"It's a tragedy," police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said.

Police say it all began with two men stealing a motorcycle at gunpoint at Fisher and Rising Sun Avenues.

One of the alleged thieves left on the stolen motorcycle and the other fled in a silver Pontiac Grand AM.

The suspects were being chased by police when the driver of the Pontiac, armed with a gun, tried to make a turn on 3rd Street, near Annsbury Street, and jumped a curb.

"When that vehicle reached the 4500 block of 3rd Street at a very high rate of speed, he jumped the payment and struck four people," Lt. Frank Vanore said.

The car plowed into a group of pedestrians, killing three children, ages 8, 5, and 11-months, and gravely injured the mother of the 11-month-old.

"It's horrifying to think about what happened," Mayor Michael Nutter said at the scene. "It's a horrific scene."

The 11-month-old has been identified as Remedy Smith. Her mother is identified as 22-year-old Latoya Smith.

Action News spoke with Ted Canada, the grandfather of Remedy and father of Latoya.

"That's all we can do is thank God and that he loaned her to us for the time that he did," Ted said about his granddaughter.

Remedy would have celebrated her first birthday Friday.

"I'm going to remember her as angel and an angel is going home, one good thing I can say is she has no reason to not make it to heaven because she had no time to sin," Ted said.

As Ted mourns his granddaughter, he prays for his daughter, Remedy's mother, Latoya, who is in critical condition in Einstein Medical Center.

"This is something that you would never imagine in your entire life," Ted said.

Both of the fleeing suspects are in custody.

The car's driver was injured and was arrested at the scene. He was taken to Temple Hospital.

The motorcycle rider was arrested at his nearby home, where several weapons were found, police said.

Officers were attacked by a dog at the motorcycle rider's home and had to shoot it but didn't kill it, said police, who recovered two shotguns and two handguns there.

Police towed away the mangled car, whose back passenger side and roof were caved in.

Neighborhood resident Robert Martinez, who lives in the house directly behind the crash scene, said the sound of the crash "was like a bomb blew up."

Martinez said he knew the victims, who lived about a block from where the car plowed into them. He said he hustled to the scene and heard the children's grandmother, who lived with them, calling their names.

"It could have been my three nieces," he said, "could have happened on this block."

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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