Philadelphia

Drunken Driver Strikes, Kills 2 Sisters on Roosevelt Boulevard: Police

The driver, who investigators identified as Kenneth Ruch, 48, is charged with homicide by vehicle while driving under intoxication and other related offenses.

Two sisters died from their injuries after being thrown 150 to 200 feet when they were struck by a drunken driver along one of Philadelphia's busiest roads late Saturday night, police said.

Kimberly Phillips, 19, and Loraya Braxton, 10, were walking on the Roosevelt Boulevard near Large Street in the city's Oxford Circle section shortly before midnight when a Jeep Wrangler struck them, said investigators.

Medics pronounced Phillips, who had her leg severed, dead at the scene. Her 10-year-old sister died a short time later at St. Christopher’s Hospital for children, said police.

After the wreck, the Jeep continued southbound before turning off the roadway then returning to Van Kirk and the Boulevard, said police. The driver, who investigators identified as Kenneth Ruch, 48, was arrested and charged with homicide by vehicle while under the influence and other related offenses. Ruch's wife, who was in the Jeep at the time, was not charged, police said.

Police said Phillips and Braxton were crossing the Boulevard in the crosswalk on a red light when they were struck by the Jeep, which was going at a high-rate of speed in the center lanes, witnesses told police. The Boulevard is at an uphill grade at the intersection and Ruch swerved into the left lane and accelerated to beat the light, which was turning from green to yellow, at the time, according to witnesses.

Friends and family held a vigil for the two sisters in Northeast Philadelphia Monday night.

"I don't care what ya'll going through with anybody," said the girls' mother, Loretta Phillips, while in tears. "Until the end ya'll hold ya'll kids because you never know when their time is up!"

Philadelphia Police
Kenneth Ruch faces homicide by vehicle charges.
Family Photos
Kimberly Phillips and Loraya Braxton
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