Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.
Police found part of the victim's body inside hit-and-run suspect Jose Antonio Santiago's car, but he denies striking anyone, court records say.
The Allentown pedestrian struck by a hit-and-run driver on Airport Road died from multiple blunt force injuries, Lehigh County Coroner Scott Grim said Wednesday.
Following an autopsy Tuesday, he ruled the death of 62-year-old Anna Lewis an accident. She was pronounced dead Sunday night at the site of the Hanover Township crash that also sent her sister, Rosalie Carlo, to the hospital.
Lewis and Carlo were walking shortly before 9 p.m. Sunday on the east shoulder of Airport Road between Catasauqua and Airport Center roads when they were allegedly struck by Jose Antonio Santiago, who was behind the wheel of a Saab sedan. The force of the crash severed Lewis at the waist, authorities say.
Lewis, of the 1400 block of Hanover Avenue, was pronounced dead at 9:36 p.m. in the 1700 block of Airport Road, according to the coroner.
The vehicle had heavy front-end damage and Lewis’ upper torso was on the passenger-side floor, authorities say. Santiago, of the 800 block of West Chew Street, was arrested early Monday and is being held on hit-and-run charges in Lehigh County Jail in lieu of $275,000 bail.
Court records say Santiago smelled of alcohol and had what looked like “body matter” on his pants leg at the time of his arrest, but insisted he hadn’t been in a crash. He allegedly told police, “I didn’t hit anyone. I would have stopped. I’m not a bad person.”
Authorities have not said how Lewis’ upper torso ended up in Santiago’s car, or whether speed or alcohol played a role in the deadly wreck. The crash remains under investigation.
Carlo, of Brooklyn, New York, is recovering from a broken wrist and other injuries at St. Luke’s University Hospital in Fountain Hill. She said Lewis had planned to retire this year after working for many years in a nursing home.