Police gather car parts in search for driver after fatal hit-and-run in Frankford

Philadelphia police are seeking the public’s help in finding a light-colored Mitsubishi, with a piece of its bumper missing and driver’s side wheel well damage, after a pedestrian is struck and killed overnight.

It happened two minutes before midnight along the 18-hundred block of East Torresdale Avenue, in Juniata. Police have not identified the victim, but neighbors say his name was "Robert" and he was known in the area.

Michael Zsitkovsky, of Juniata, described "Robert." "He didn’t rob people. He bummed change like I do just to get-by during the month. I think he was on disability."

Police said the 44-year-old stumbled and fell in the middle of Torresdale. Just as he fell, a white or silver 2016 to 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander, traveling at what police say was "a good rate of speed," struck him, killed him, and sped off.


The scene was littered with parts from the striking vehicle, which police hope will help them identify the vehicle.

Captain Robert Heinzeroth leads the Accident Investigation Division. In an afternoon press briefing he said, "The vehicle did appear, from the video, that the brake lights did come on and may have taken evasive action to avoid (the strike). Based on the damage to the vehicle, based on parts recovered, the driver certainly must have known he struck."

A section of the bumper of the striking vehicle was left behind and police say the SUV must have damage to the driver’s side wheel well. A woman in the neighborhood said her husband witnessed "Robert’s" last moments. Brianna Axelson told FOX 29's Jeff Cole the vehicle, "Smacked the guy, flipped him five or six times. My husband ran over to see if he was okay, and he was gone."

Police report there were 41 fatal hit-and-run crashes on Philadelphia’s crowded streets last year with 10 so far this year. As the season draws more people out and about, police issued a warning. Captain Heinzeroth said, "When you leave the scene of a crash, regardless of circumstances, it’s a crime."


Tips can be submitted by calling 215-686-TIPS (8477) or text a tip to 215-686-TIPS (8477). Tips can also be submitted anonymously online, here. All tips are confidential.

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