Man With Suspended License Admits to Deadly Hit-&-Run: Police

Police say a Philadelphia man admitted to striking and killing a Delaware County man walking his dog over the weekend.

"That's not an an accident," said an irate Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood. "An accident is when you stop and you try to help... when you just leave someone, how cruel could you be?"

Chitwood announced the arrest Ernest Marks, 58, Wednesday morning in the crash that killed Richard Patterson as crossed E. Providence Road and Arbor Lea Road in Aldan, Upper Darby Township just after 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

Both the man and his dog died instantly.

"This is a heinous, cowardly act committed by a criminal...and we see it over and over and over again," said Chitwood earlier in the week.

Chitwood said that Marks, who hails from N Felton Street in the Carroll Park neighborhood of Philly, admitted to police that he was behind the wheel when he hit something. Marks told investigators he wasn't sure what he struck.

"To say that he didn't know what he hit but that he knew he hit something is absolutely ludicrous in my mind."

Marks -- who works as a mechanic -- has 11 past motor vehicle violations and eight prior drug arrests, according to Chitwood.

"Here's an individual that should not be behind the wheel of a car," said Chitwood.

Marks told police that he didn't stop because his license was suspended and he was wanted for a probation violation.

Chitwood said that Marks' attorney Debra Rainey called Upper Darby Police Tuesday afternoon and told police that Marks was in her office and ready to turn himself in. Police then arrested him at her Center City law office.

Chitwood said that Marks turned himself in after feeling guilty from the media reports he saw about the deadly crash.

Patterson, 69, was outside looking for the family's 5-year-old dog, Baby, who escaped from their yard. Police say he found the dog and was on his way back to his home a block away when he and Baby were struck and killed.

A witness said they heard the crash and saw a light-colored vehicle drive away.

Chitwood said police recovered Marks' white 2000 Acura sedan dumped along the 800 block of N 47th Street in Philadelphia -- it had extensive damage to the front end.

"Mr. Patterson was walking across Providence Road and he never say it coming," said Chitwood. "He was struck in the back of leg area, flew in the area and landed on the hood of the car and the driver kept going."

Chitwood said if the law allowed that he would charge Marks with homicide by vehicle if it was allowed.

"This is homicide," said Chitwood. "You've got a 4,000-pound vehicle traveling at a high-rate of speed, killing somebody and then leaving him laying on the highway without any stop.

"The laws, they stink -- they suck to be quite frank with you -- and they gotta do something to enhance those laws so that these individuals that are going to kill people and maim people on our roadways are punished the way they should be appropriately punished."

Marks was charged instead with leaving the scene of a crash that caused injury, failure to render aid and driving with a suspended license, according to court records.

Those charges could be upgraded.

Authorities say the driver was going 50 to 60 mph at the time of the accident. The speed limit on that portion of the road is 35 mph.

Patterson left behind his wife of 48 years as well as three grown children.

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