published Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Mother, 3 sons killed crossing Philly road; 1 hurt

Philadelphia police were investigating Wednesday whether cars were drag racing when a mother and three young sons were struck and killed while attempting to cross a busy highway. A fourth son was injured.

The accident happened at about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday on Roosevelt Boulevard, a major artery that runs through north and northeast Philadelphia. Investigators say the 27-year-old woman was pushing a stroller and crossing the road with her four sons when they were hit by a car.

The woman and her 1-year-old were pronounced dead at the scene. The other three children were taken to a hospital, where the 9-month-old was pronounced dead. Two sons, ages 4 and 5, were taken to the hospital; the younger boy was pronounced dead at 4:45 a.m. Wednesday, while the 5-year-old was stable, police said.

Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said there is a crosswalk near the area where the family was trying to cross, but it wasn't immediately clear whether they were using it. Investigators said they were looking for surveillance video at the accident scene as they tried to piece together what had happened.

Authorities were talking to witnesses who reported seeing vehicles traveling at a high rate of speed and were investigating whether cars were drag racing.

"We're talking to several persons who witnessed this accident - some who were on foot, some who were in other vehicles when the accident occurred," Small said. "We're getting some information that there may have been drag racing."

The 22-year-old driver was taken in for questioning, but no arrests were immediately announced. The accident closed the southbound lanes of the highway for hours before they were reopened at about 6 a.m. Wednesday.

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