Teen Killed in 1 of 4 Philly Hit-and-Run Crashes Could Have Survived if Driver Had Stopped, Father Says

Philadelphia police are trying to track down 4 drivers in a series of deadly hit-and-run crashes over the weekend

What to Know

  • Police are seeking help in finding vehicles and drivers involved in several fatal hit-run accidents in Philadelphia.
  • Three of the hit-and-run crashes were fatal while a fourth left a man in critical condition.
  • The father of a teen killed in one of the four crashes says his son likely would've survived if the driver had remained at the scene.

A heartbroken father says his teenage son likely would have survived if the vehicle that struck him in Philly's Rhawnhurst neighborhood over the weekend had stopped instead of fleeing the scene.

It was one of three deadly hit-and-run crashes in the city over the past three days. A fourth hit-and-run in Philly left a victim in critical condition.

"JJ is my son," John Gbaa Sr., said. "I love him. I love him very much."

Gbaa Sr.'s son, 17-year-old John Gbaa Jr., also known as "JJ," was struck by a vehicle, described by police as a 2007 or 2008 Chevy Impala, on the 7600 block of Roosevelt Boulevard shortly before 1 a.m. Sunday. The vehicle fled south on the boulevard and the teen died shortly after 3:30 a.m. at a hospital.

"You could have a child," Gbaa Sr., said. "You could have a sister or brother. You could have anybody. He's not a dog. He's a human being. He is created in the image of God."

Loved ones say JJ went to Target Saturday night and didn't come home. His aunt, Eva Gbaa, said she woke up in the middle of the night and called him.

"In the morning something just woke me up," she said. "I called his phone and Facetime. But the phone rang, he didn't answer."

Police recovered car parts, including a driver side mirror and pieces of a headlight. Gbaa Sr. said his son likely would've survived the crash if the driver hadn't fled.

"I heard that he hit him and he flew and dropped somewhere," Gbaa Sr. said. "So if he had taken him to the hospital, probably, he would still be alive."

It was one of four hit-and-run crashes in Philadelphia in the past three days, and one of three that were fatal.

Police say 50-year-old Brian Jones was crossing Torresdale Avenue near Cottman Avenue in Tacony just before 8:30 p.m. Friday when he was struck by an eastbound car that failed to stop, and about 15 seconds later by a westbound car that also failed to stop. Jones was pronounced dead minutes later.

"We are looking for a gray Toyota, possible a Camry or Corolla, and a Mitsubishi Gallant, dark in color, for the Cottman Avenue (crash)," police Capt. Mark Overwise said.

Family members say Jones was a marine who served in Desert Storm and had worked for PennDot for several years. He was struck while making his way to a co-worker's retirement party that night.

"I will never get to see my baby brother again," Trulease Stewart, Jones' sister, said. "I have to bury my baby brother."

Family members told NBC10 Jones had just reconnected with his daughter after 30 years and was seeing her every week prior to his death.

Saturday morning, a white sedan struck a 59-year-old man in front of a Dunkin' Donuts at 21st and Market streets. That victim is currently in critical condition.

Shortly after midnight Sunday, another 50-year-old man was found unresponsive on North Randolph Street in North Philadelphia and pronounced dead with injuries officials said were consistent with having been struck by a vehicle.

Police hoped that surveillance video and witness accounts could help them track down the drivers.

If you have information on any of the four hit-and-run incidents, please call Philadelphia police.

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