Police charged 39-year-old Manuel Albondoz with homicide by vehicle, driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident in relation to an incident that claimed the life of 24-year-old bicyclist Celina Langan, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Police say the incident took place on 12:25 a.m. last Sunday in East Frankford. He was driving a black Ford Taurus that didn't belong to him and lacked a driver's license.
The specific charge against Manuel Albondoz (in addition to a DUI and related counts) is involuntary manslaughter, according to NBC Philadelphia, which may prompt his Philadelphia DUI lawyer to advise a guilty plea.
Celina Langan was riding her bike when the defendant, allegedly under the influence of alcohol, struck her; but few details of the incident were available. Witness Nancy Nelson said she could hear the crash from her nearby home:
"He was going fast. I said to my mother 'somebody got hit' and I came out expecting to help who ever was in the car and he [the driver] took off."
She then saw the young woman on the street and unresponsive. Celina Langan was rushed to Hahnemann Hospital, where she was soon pronounced dead. Police found the car involved in the crash in a fenced parking lot.
While a DUI and driving without a valid license are quite serious offenses, courts take a hit-and-run coupled with vehicular manslaughter dead serious.
If the victim dies, as did Celina Langan, and the motorist doesn't stop after the crash, the offense is treated as a third degree felony punishable by a mandatory minimum one-year prison term (PDF, Pennsylvania DMV, pg. 15). Homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence is charged as a second degree felony carrying a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in prison (pg. 13).