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. ••