Philadelphia Criminal Law News

17-Year-Old Charged with Vehicular Homicide for Drifting

A 17-year-old Willow Grove teen killed an elderly pedestrian while practicing a hazardous driving technique known as "drifting." According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the 17-year-old boy was taken into custody and accused for the 81-year-old Zita Egitto's death. The teen was charged as a juvenile for vehicular homicide.

Drifting happens when a driver pulls on the emergency brake and turns the wheel to make the vehicle slide or "drift" sideways. A car needs to have rear-wheel drive and an adaptive unit to make the rear wheels work together to drift.  The practice first appeared in the 2006 action film "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift" and has become a risky stunt popular among local teens.

Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said the boy was driving south on Old York Road at 79 miles per hour when he decided to practice "drifting, or power-sliding" at the left turn onto Reed Street. His car had front-wheel drive instead of rear-wheel drive, and the 17-year-old ended up losing control of the vehicle.

The car struck Zita Egitto as she walked along the sidewalk on Reed Street. The impact of the crash hurled Egitto onto someone's porch, and she died from multiple injuries. Risa Ferman said the 17-year-old was an example of "life imitating art. The kids want the thrill of driving fast and acting like their favorite movie actors - and with tragic consequences."

The 17-year-old will be held at the Montgomery County Youth Center while the charges are adjudicated. To learn more on how the juvenile justice system works in PA, talk to a Philadelphia criminal defense attorney or visit the Related Resources links below.

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