Fleeing driver kills 3 kids

2009-06-11 09:27

Philadelphia - A car fleeing a robbery scene and being chased by police jumped a curb and crashed into a crowd, killing three young children and gravely injuring a woman, authorities said.

The incident on Wednesday night began with two men stealing a motorcycle at gunpoint, police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said. One man fled on the motorcycle, and the other sped away in a car, he said.

Police spotted the car a few minutes after receiving a report of the motorcycle theft and pursued it for about 2km.

The car jumped the curb with such force it crushed the concrete steps of a house. It became wedged between a house and a pole. The woman it hit is the mother of at least one of the dead children, all of whom were under age 10, authorities said.

"It's a horrific scene," Mayor Michael Nutter said at the accident site.

The car's driver was injured and was arrested at the scene, and the motorcycle rider was arrested at his nearby home, where several weapons were found, police said.

Neighbourhood 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 ploughed into them. He said he hustled to the scene and heard the children's grandmother, who lived with them, calling their names.