Philadelphia

Driver Flees After Striking, Dragging 4-Year-Old Chasing Ball Into North Philadelphia Street

The 4-year-old child was on the 2600 block of North 16th Street when he or she was struck by a vehicle that then fled the scene.

A young boy was hospitalized with third-degree burns after being dragged during a hit-and-run crash in North Philadelphia Tuesday night.

Tahir Stowe-Smith, 4, was playing with a basketball along the 2600 block of North 16th Street just before 9:30 p.m. when the ball rolled into the street, police said.

"I remember telling him, 'Alright, go ahead, step back.' And then he lost control of the ball and then everything just happened really fast," the boy's mother, Quaeerah Stowe-Smith, said.

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The child chased after the ball and was struck by a black Honda Accord, which dragged him for about 20 feet, police said. Stowe-Smith then pulled her son from underneath the car.

"I just ran, told her to back up, grabbed my child, got in my cousin's car and we took him to the emergency room," Stowe-Smith said.

Stowe-Smith rushed her son to Temple University Hospital where he was treated for third-degree burns. He was listed in stable condition after being transferred to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia where he underwent further testing to check for internal injuries overnight.

The boy will undergo surgery but is expected to recover.

The entire incident played out on surveillance video.

The 37-year-old driver could be seen getting back in her car, briefly pulling over again and then "accelerating" from the scene on North 16th Street, Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said.

"I saw the lady," Denise Singleton, the boy's aunt, told NBC10. "The lady got out of her car. She looked scared to death. She didn't say anything and I didn't say anything to her. After about 20 or 30 seconds she got back in her car and just sat there for a few minutes."

Singleton managed to get the driver's license plate number however.

"I just saw the car sitting there and everybody was screaming and hollering and it just made me remember the tag number," Singleton said. "I just kept memorizing the tag numbers."

Police tracked the license plate to a home in Northeast Philadelphia. 

"Why the female operator initially stopped... but then changed her mind and left the scene, we don't know why," Small said overnight.

The driver contacted investigators and turned herself in. She is cooperating with the investigation, police said Wednesday morning. No charges have been filed but the investigation continues.

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