Distraught family members of 3-year-old Ja’lexy Bobet looked on as the man who police believe was the driver who struck and killed the young girl was led away in handcuffs.
On Thursday around 7 p.m., Bobet was walking along the 1000 block of Cotton Street with her 10-year-old cousin in Reading. Suddenly, police say, the girl was struck by a Ram pickup truck which then fled the scene. Bobet was taken to Reading Hospital where she was pronounced dead.
“They were going to the store to get a little bit of candy,” said Bobet’s aunt Tina Acevedo. “When they came out they went to cross the street. They just flew up this street and they just hit her and they kept on going. It's like they had no remorse about hitting anything. To them it was like hitting an animal. They didn't care."
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Police say they discovered a truck matching the description of the hit-and-run vehicle a few hours after Bobet’s death. It was found abandoned near Mount Penn in Lower Alsace Township, according to investigators. Police confirmed it was the same truck.
Through witnesses and investigation, police say they identified the hit-and-run driver as 18-year-old Justin Anthony Taylor of Wernersville. Investigators say Taylor posted a confession on Facebook and then called police.
“He did say he was going to turn himself in,” said Police Captain Mark Spotts. “He gave us a timetable on which he intended to turn himself in. We were uncomfortable with that. We did place surveillance on him and at one point in time he was heading in a direction that we did not feel comfortable when he was coming in to see us. Then we brought him in.”
Police say Taylor was not the owner of the vehicle and does not have a driver’s license. He was arrested and taken away in handcuffs as Ja’lexy’s family members looked on and screamed angrily in his direction.
“He killed my baby!” screamed one family member as other relatives tried to console her.
Michael Roman, a friend of the family, spoke to NBC10 after the emotional scene.
“I was there,” said Roman. “I saw the whole thing. I heard when the gentleman ran through the stop sign and hit the child. Once I heard the sound I ran over there and saw the child. I called 911. For you to run over a child and know that you did and keep going makes you a monster in my eyes. You have no compassion as a human being. So all the stuff he wrote down on Facebook about him being sorry and him not being a monster, actually he is. If he did have compassion he would have waited there to make sure the child is okay. That’s why I’m angry and that’s why the family is angry.”
“The primary charges right now are homicide by vehicle,” said Captain Spotts. “We are currently looking over and processing tentatively what the rest of the charges will be.”