Driver Charged With Homicide in Apparent Drag Racing Death

Police say car was going 73 mph when driver lost control

By Kelly Bayliss and Dan Stamm
|  Wednesday, Oct 10, 2012  |  Updated 2:46 PM EDT
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Homicide Charge in Apparent Drag Racing Death

NBC10

This car flipped several times before crashing into a sign and catching on fire, according to police.

The 19-year-old driver behind the wheel of a deadly Labor Day crash faces charges that he killed one of his passengers when he lost control of his car while allegedly drag racing along Route 1 in Bucks County.

Investigators say that they arrived at the scene on the 3100-block of Lincoln Highway around 10:30 Sept. 3 to find a 2000 Volvo sedan on fire. The car struck a guard rail, hit a concrete pillar and rolled over before catching fire near Street Road.

Witnesses, which include an off-duty police officer, say that the Volvo was racing a white Ford Crown Victoria headed north when the driver lost control of the vehicle, rolled multiple times and crashed into the sign of a car accessories store, Driver's Choice, before catching fire.

The driver of the Volvo, later identified as Aurelio Xhepaj of the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia, and the front passenger, Mary Logan also of Philadelphia, were both ejected from the vehicle, according to police.

The rear passenger -- Michelle Price, 19, of North Carolina -- died of severe blunt force trauma to the head while inside the car, authorities said.

Both Xhepaj and Logan were transported to Aria-Torresdale Hospital. Logan, who broke several vertebrae, her collar bone and her thumb in the wreck, told police that Xhepaj lost control of his car while racing and hit the guard rail, according to an affidavit obtained by Phillyburbs.com.

The Volvo was traveling 73 mph at the time of the crash.

According to court documents, a Magisterial Court judge arraigned Xhepaj Tuesday on criminal homicide, homicide by vehicle, aggravated assault by vehicle, reckless endangerment, illegal racing and related charges. Xhepaj remained in jail Wednesday on $1 million bail.

 


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