Tacony teen will be tried as an adult for fatal crash

A Ta­cony teen­ager who al­legedly stole his moth­er’s car and caused a vi­ol­ent wreck that claimed the life of a Ben­s­alem Town­ship man last month has been ordered to stand tri­al as an adult for murder.

Mu­ni­cip­al Court Judge Dav­id C. Shuter on Ju­ly 20 ordered Win­ston Char­le­ston, 14, of the 7100 block of State Road, to stand tri­al on 21 charges, in­clud­ing third-de­gree murder, in the killing of 22-year-old Daniel Four­acre and in­jur­ing of four oth­ers.

The crash oc­curred on June 30 at about 2:15 a.m. at the in­ter­sec­tion of Academy and Wil­lits roads.

Ac­cord­ing to Phil­adelphia po­lice, Char­le­ston and three teen­age pas­sen­gers, all boys, were trav­el­ing north­bound on Academy Road in a 2002 Chrysler Sebring at a high rate of speed with no head­lights when Char­le­ston ran a red light, lost con­trol of the vehicle, strayed in­to on­com­ing traffic and col­lided with a 2002 Volk­swa­gen Jetta driv­en by Four­acre’s girl­friend, Jes­sica Feld­man, 20, of Hunt­ing­don Val­ley.

A south­bound Chevy Im­pala then clipped the Jetta as its driver tried to avoid the wreck. A man and wo­man in the Chevy, both 22, re­por­ted no in­jur­ies.

Four­acre was pro­nounced dead at the scene. Feld­man was hos­pit­al­ized with a shoulder in­jury and broken fin­ger.

Char­le­ston and his three pas­sen­gers were all hos­pit­al­ized. Two of the pas­sen­gers suffered mul­tiple broken bones, bruises and cuts. Char­le­ston and the third pas­sen­ger were treated and re­leased.

Dur­ing last week’s pre­lim­in­ary hear­ing, 15-year-old Akquil Har­ring­ton test­i­fied that he and Char­le­ston were at Char­le­ston’s house shortly after mid­night on June 30 when Char­le­ston’s moth­er fell asleep. Char­le­ston took her keys and drove the boys to pick up two friends. The four youths then went for a joyride.

As Char­le­ston sped north­bound on In­ter­state 95, they passed a state troop­er, Har­ring­ton said. The pas­sen­gers al­legedly told Char­le­ston to slow down, but the driver con­tin­ued to speed as he left the high­way at the Academy Road exit and pro­ceeded to­ward Frank­ford Av­en­ue.

The ar­rest­ing po­lice of­ficer, Thomas K. O’Neill, test­i­fied that the Sebring was trav­el­ing at 85 miles per hour when it struck the Jetta at a bend in the road in front of the Cannstat­ter Volks­fest Ver­ein club.

De­fense at­tor­ney James Ly­ons ar­gued that Char­le­ston should not be charged with murder or tried as an adult be­cause the ac­ci­dent res­ul­ted from his cli­ent’s bad judg­ment, not his in­tent to hurt any­one.

But As­sist­ant Dis­trict At­tor­ney Brid­get Kirn ar­gued that Char­le­ston showed the malice to up­hold the adult murder charge by dis­reg­ard­ing his friends’ pleas for him to slow down.

Ad­di­tion­al charges against Char­le­ston in­clude single counts of un­au­thor­ized use of a vehicle, ac­ci­dent in­volving death or in­jury, hom­icide by vehicle and in­vol­un­tary man­slaughter, along with mul­tiple counts of ag­grav­ated as­sault, simple as­sault and reck­less en­dan­ger­ment.

He re­mains in jail at the Phil­adelphia In­dus­tri­al Cor­rec­tion­al Cen­ter in lieu of $600,000 bail. ••

You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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