Suspect in Fatal Upper Darby Hit-Run Held on $1 Million Bail
By David Madden and Nicole Brewer
UPPER DARBY, Pa. (CBS) — Bail has been set at $1 million for a West Philadelphia man whom police say was driving with a suspended license when he slammed into another man who was walking his dog in Delaware County earlier this week.
Officials say 58-year-old Ernest Marks told investigators he knew he had hit something but fled the scene anyway.
The accident happened Sunday evening on Providence Road, near Arbor Lea Road, in Upper Darby (see previous story).
According to Upper Darby police, Marks contacted a center city Philadelphia attorney after seeing news media coverage of the search for a vehicle like his (see related story). The attorney arranged for Marks to surrender.
Police say Marks was driving with a suspended license when the accident occurred. Upper Darby police superintendent Michael Chitwood says Marks has a very checkered driving career that includes 11 license suspensions, and he was wanted for a probation violation in Delaware County — which, Chitwood says, may explain why Marks fled the scene of the deadly accident. Marks had also used at least eight aliases in the past.
“Here’s an individual that shouldn’t be behind the wheel…yet he is, and he did and we believe that this is one of the reasons he took off,” Chitwood said.
Investigators say the car involved in the crime, a white Acura, was found on 47th Street in Philadelphia with front-end damage.
Investigators think Richard Patterson, 69, a retired carpenter, was looking for his poodle that got loose. “He put the leash on the dog and was walking the dog back towards his house,” Chitwood said today.
That’s when, police say, a speeding car hit the Patterson and his beloved pet, killing both.
“He never saw it coming,” Chitwood said.
Chitwood says detectives are working on additional charges against Marks that are expected to include homicide-by-vehicle. Police believe he was going 50-60 mph in a 35-mph zone.
“Depends on if we can put the speed, some kind of intoxicated state. There’s a lot of nuances that we have to investigate to put in there,” he explained. “The laws, they stink. They need to mend the law so that people who maim and kill people are appropriately charged.”
According to witnesses, several other drivers passed the body lying in the roadway and continued by, never stopping to help.
“(They) drove around Mr. Patterson while he was either dying or dead on the roadway, and his dog, and never stopped — just kept on going,” Chitwood said.
Patterson and the dog were pronounced dead at the scene. He leaves behind a wife, Barbara, and three kids.