PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - A Kensington neighborhood favorite was hospitalized in critical condition after a hit-and-run accident that left his friends in shock. He is 43-year-old Krelly Plaza-Alicea but he is known to most as "Pupi."
"I just can't believe it," said Stephanie Hamer. "He's such a great guy. I mean, he's so sweet. He was always playing with the kids and would always ask how your day was."
Plaza-Alicea was inside the M & L Mini Market around 7:30 Thursday night. The store's security camera shows him walk outside, then head southbound across Clearfield St. at Emerald likely heading to his apartment across the street. As he leaves the frame, a 2000 silver BMW 323i can be seen flashing through the screen.
The car smashed into Plaza-Alicea and hurled him down the block. Police say the driver sped away.
"He doesn't bother a soul," said Jacqueline Savage to Fox29's Bruce Gordon. "And to see this happen to him, it hurts everybody. All of us right now are feeling it. Every last one of us who knows him, we are feeling it."
Philadelphia Police spent Friday collecting security camera footage. They have already recovered the BMW and are searching for evidence inside the car. They are not sure whether the owner of the vehicle was behind the wheel at the time of the crash but are asking that driver to come forward.
"If they panicked," said Captain Patrick Kelly of the Accident Investigation District. "They could come in and tell us, 'Hey, I was scared and this is what happened.' But they have to contact us and come in and tell us that. So far, nothing."
Police have already collected surveillance tape from the Peralto Food Market down the block. Pupi worked here till recently. These people-- like everyone else Gordon talked to-- call him a hard worker and a good guy.
"It's just ridiculous," said Johenia Rodriguez from behind the cash register. "Taking off and leaving a person in the condition that Pupi is in, you know what I mean? Because you can stop and say, 'are you OK?' Do something."