By Jim Melwert, Dray Clark, Ben Simmoneau
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Police say a dad who pushed his young son to safety was fatally struck by a car in a hit and run in Northeast Philadelphia late Wednesday evening.
According to investigators, 41-year-old Michael Romano was crossing the Roosevelt Boulevard, midblock at Loney Street, just before 11 p.m. when he was struck by a vehicle in the southbound outer lanes. Before he was hit, Romano was able to push his 5-year-old son out of the way.
“He was upset, he looked a little confused, he has a single tear running down his cheek,” says Joe Greer.
Eyewitnesses did what they could Wednesday night to comfort the 5-year-old boy who was crossing Roosevelt Boulevard with his father when the car slammed into Romano. Witnesses say the father was hit so hard he was thrown out of his shoes and clothing.
“A dark area of the Boulevard with his 5-year-old son, you’re taking a big chance by doing that,” says resident Greer. “All he had to walk was another 90 yards and he would have been at the crosswalk.”
Police say it was a 2000 Chevy Impala that hit Romano, sustaining heavy damage to the passenger side of the windshield. The driver, 22-year-old Roderick Williams, tried to get away.
An off-duty police officer saw the whole thing, and called 9-1-1. Police were able to stop the car just a couple blocks away at Borbeck Avenue.
The child was taken to St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. He wasn’t hit, but did suffer minor injuries from being pushed to safety.
Williams was taken into police custody, and is facing several charges, including homicide by vehicle and driving under the influence.
He remains behind bars.