Germantown Avenue & Coulter Street. (GIH/Rasheed Ajamu)

On July 3rd, around 12:13 a.m., a woman identified as Elizabeth Negron was struck and killed by a white SUV at Germantown Avenue & Coulter Street. This became the second hit-and-run in a matter of weeks at the intersection. But while news reports and statements from police claim that Negron was crossing the street when she was struck, surveillance footage from cameras nearby reveals officers may have been able to prevent her from getting hit.

The footage shows officers on the scene and outside their cruiser minutes, seemingly right beside Negron, minutes before she was struck. And when the officers left, Negron was lying in the street.

The camera first picked up Negron walking near the intersection around midnight. On the video, Negron appeared to have been in some sort of distress. She was walking while waving her hands in the air shortly before stopping and sitting at a memorial site arranged by community members for Dia Lee, who was struck in a hit-and-run just weeks before.

Footage of police at the scene minutes before Negron was struck. (GIH/Rasheed Ajamu)

At 12:08 a.m., Negron began to walk across the street as a Route 23 SEPTA bus approached. Negron seemed to stand in front of the SEPTA bus; for a while, the vehicle blocked the camera’s view of her.

At 12:09 a.m., police pulled up to the scene. It is unclear whether the two police officers responded to a call, as the police vehicle lights weren’t flashing. The officers got out of the car and approached Negron, but the bus kept both parties out of the camera’s view.

At 12:11 a.m., the SEPTA bus pulls off, and the police begin the walk back to their vehicle. Negron appeared to follow the police by walking and stopping behind their vehicle. One of the officers got in the car, and the other followed a few seconds later. The police officers drove off at 12:12 a.m., and behind them Negron was lying on the ground in the travel lane.

After one car swerved around her and another turned the corner, Negron sat up in the same spot just a few seconds before she laid on her back. Cars on the opposite side of the street began to pull up, and a few drivers seemed to stop to see what was happening. But before anyone could get out of the car, Negron was run over at 12:13 a.m. by the white SUV.

Negron was 32 years old, and she had two daughters. Her sister, Jacqueline Martinez, says that Negron helped out wherever she could as a volunteer. Martinez was notified about her sister’s passing by her sister’s drug treatment program on July 6. She says that her cousin first showed her the video before a detective called her about it. However, Martinez saw an edited clip that only showed footage of the hit-and-run. It wasn’t until last week that she saw the entire clip. 

“It was hard,” Martinez says, reflecting on seeing the police at the scene moments before her sister’s death. “They could have done more than what they did because to me, it looks like she was basically in a situation where something was wrong. You could at least call the ambulance to pick her up — not just let her lay in the middle of the street and get in your car like it’s nothing.”

Sgt. Eric Dripp, a public information officer for the Philly PD, said the two officers have been identified, and the Internal Affairs Division has begun an investigation “to ensure that officers on scene with the victim followed all policies, directives, and guidelines of the PPD prior to the victim being struck.” While that investigation is going on, the officers involved are not placed on restricted duty, he said. Sgt. Dipp made no additional comment, citing the ongoing investigation.

Martinez says, “I just want the police to do a little more than they do. This is not the first or going to be the last situation like this. Nobody is perfect. Everybody is going through something, and if you see them [and], they look like they need help, call somebody besides leaving them out to die.”
Martinez permitted Germantown Info Hub to show the footage of the incident for full transparency and because she felt the public needed to see it.

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