Pedestrian killed in brutal North Philly hit-and-run

Police released an image of the vehicle involved in a fatal hit-and-run Wednesday in North Philadelphia.
PHOTO: Police

A 60-year-old man who was deaf and mute was fatally struck by a speeding hit-and-run driver Wednesday night in North Philadelphia, police said.

Roberto Oquendo Velez was hit while crossing 2nd Street at Ontario Street just before 11:15 p.m., and the impact knocked him out of his shoes and down the block, Capt. Mark Overwise, of the police department’s Accident Investigation Division, said.

Investigators said Velez, who lived nearby, was in the crosswalk at the time of the crash. It’s unclear if the driver ran a red light, Overwise said.

“We’re very desperate to look for this vehicle and to identify the driver and make sure we get them off the street,” he told reporters Thursday.

Officers recovered surveillance footage from a corner store and are working to get video from nearby residents.

Authorities described the vehicle as a 2001 to 2004 blue GMC Yukon or Denali. Overwise said it should have a broken right headlight and possibly other fender damage.

Velez was the fifth person killed in a hit-and-run this year. Fatal hit-and-run crashes ballooned from a total of nine in 2019 to 28 last year, according to Overwise.

On Sunday, 39-year-old pedestrian Israel Milian died after being hit by two cars on the 4700 block of N. 5th Street in Hunting Park. Detectives are still looking for those drivers.