Woman is charged in fatal hit-and-run in Camden County

Elisha A. Pollosco, 25, has been arraigned.
Elisha A. Pollosco, 25, has been arraigned.
Posted: September 20, 2011

Elisha A. Pollosco had a messy driving record, so when she pulled up Thursday afternoon at her sister's house in Cherry Hill with a broken headlamp on her 2000 silver Pontiac Grand Am and said she had been in a "fender bender," her family didn't question the account.

"She was a little bit frazzled. I thought a little fender bender would shake up anybody," sister Gretchen, 27, said Monday.

The accident, however, was no fender bender. A short distance away, police said, Elisha Pollosco had struck Binh Tsan on the shoulder of Route 70 near Ranoldo Terrace just before 12:30 p.m. and sped away. Tsan was trying to cross Route 70 after a lunch break, police said. She died Saturday at Cooper University Hospital of blunt head trauma.

On Monday, Elisha Pollosco, a petite woman in orange jail garb, stood impassively before Judge Irvin J. Snyder as she was arraigned in Superior Court in Camden on charges of knowingly leaving the scene of a motor-vehicle accident resulting in death and hindering apprehension.

She asked for a public defender.

A day earlier, Cherry Hill police said, she admitted she hit Tsan.

The owner of a nearby auto-body shop chased after Elisha Pollosco's car on foot for about 300 yards, but could not get close enough to read the license plate.

"I think she thought she hit a car. If she really honestly hit a person, she would have told me," her sister said.

On Sunday, police said, a witness identified Elisha Pollosco as the driver and told authorities that the vehicle was parked in the driveway of Pollosco's Berlin home in the 200 block of Cross Keys Road. Authorities found the car there that day.

Elisha Pollosco for a time stored the car in her sister's closed garage and then placed a large pink decal on the rear window to alter its appearance, authorities said. She might not have been caught were it not for the witness and the work of Cherry Hill police, said Assistant Prosecutor Ira Slovin.

Gretchen Pollosco said she and her husband learned of the accident Sunday and realized that her sister might have been responsible when they saw pictures of a similar car on the news.

At some point, the family came to know, and Elisha Pollosco planned to turn herself in Sunday, said brother-in-law Mike Pollitt.

Elisha Pollosco is 25, the same age as Tsan, and both worked at law firms. Tsan was heading back to work at the office of Eric A. Shore on Ranoldo Terrace on Thursday. Elisha Pollosco, the single mother of a 4-year-old boy, was a secretary at two local firms, her sister said.

Elisha Pollosco is held in the Camden County Jail on $100,000 bail. She will have to surrender her license if she posts bail pending the outcome of the case, authorities said.

Her driving record shows nearly a dozen violations since 2005, including using a cellphone while driving and failure to wear a seat belt, said a spokesman for the state Motor Vehicle Commission. She has also been involved in several accidents since 2004, which her sister and brother-in-law confirmed.

In June, she was convicted on theft charges and sentenced to three years' probation, according to court records. The charges stemmed from a scheme to steal prescription medicine, according to news reports.

"After her last legal trouble, she got her life together," said Pollitt, 31.

On Thursday, authorities said, she was illegally passing on the shoulder when she hit Tsan, of Runnemede.

The area is not a designated crosswalk, but cars had stopped for Tsan and her boyfriend, Michael Medina.

Pollosco's Grand Am grazed Medina, 25, also of Runnemede, but he was unhurt.

"I am just going to continue for pray for Binh's family and friends," said Desiree Forbes, a nursing student who rushed to help Tsan and comforted Medina.

Cherry Hill Police Lt. Bill Kushina said passing on the shoulder is common at the accident site.

The roadway changes from four to two lanes, backing up traffic, and impatient drivers take to the shoulder to turn into shopping complexes.

"It's a dangerous practice that's illegal and cannot only cost you money, but in this case it cost a young woman her life," he said.

But there was no reason for Elisha Pollosco to rush, her sister said.

Gretchen Pollosco, a stay-at-home mother, was waiting for her sister to show up. The two planned to go shopping for a birthday gift for their mother, who was celebrating her 56th birthday Saturday.

Elisha Pollosco never mentioned the gravity of the accident when she showed up and asked to put her Grand Am in the garage, and then drove it away the next day, her sister said.

"I would have driven her to the police station if I knew that," Gretchen Pollosco said.

Contact staff writer Darran Simon at 856-779-3829, dsimon@phillynews.com, or @darransimon on Twitter.


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