Driver faces trial in fatal crash

Posted: September 02, 2010

Manuel Albandoz, accused of fatally hitting a young woman with his car in July and fleeing the scene, yesterday waived his right to have a preliminary hearing.

Philadelphia Municipal Judge Bradley K. Moss ordered Albandoz, 40, to stand trial for homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter, driving without a license and leaving the scene in connection with the July 11 death of Celina Langan, 24.

The victim, who lived on Tulip Street, near Benner, was struck by Albandoz at 12:25 a.m. at the intersection of Torresdale and Adams avenues, in the Frankford section.

She was pronounced dead shortly afterward.

Due to a lack of evidence, a charge of homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence and a second DUI charge were withdrawn, said Assistant District Attorney Brian Zarallo.

Albandoz, of East Frankford, was distraught after the accident and went home to consult with his wife, mother and sister, Betzaida Albandoz, a city police officer assigned to the 35th District, defense attorney Louis Savino told the judge.

The sister arranged his surrender, he said.

In arguing that bail should be reduced from $100,000 to $50,000, Savino said the auto-body worker had strong ties to the community.

Zarallo objected, noting the length of time it took him to surrender, the fact that the Puerto Rico-born defendant has a passport, that he has driven without a license for 20 years, and that his wife's Ford Taurus that he was driving the night of the accident was reported stolen.

Moss, nevertheless, ordered the bail amount cut in half contingent on the defendant turning over his passport and refraining from driving. Albandoz faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 1 to 2 years in prison if convicted of leaving the scene of the accident.

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