Cops still looking for hit-and-run scum who maimed mom

ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Asenath Brown goes through family photos at her North Philadelphia home. Her daughter, Monae Mosee-Palmer, is in the hospital after a hit-run earlier this month.
ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Asenath Brown goes through family photos at her North Philadelphia home. Her daughter, Monae Mosee-Palmer, is in the hospital after a hit-run earlier this month.
Posted: October 28, 2013

MONAE Mosee-Palmer was trying to get to the hospital, trying to get to her baby, when her world went dark.

Took only a split second for it to happen, for a family's world to be shaken violently and turned on its head.

Mosee-Palmer had pedaled her bicycle through University City on Oct. 10 on her way to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where her 1-year-old daughter, Aailayah, was being treated for lingering complications from a severely premature birth.

Somehow, she fell. The 22-year-old and her bike ended up flat on the ground, in the westbound lane of traffic on Spruce Street near 38th, about 7:30 p.m.

Police surveillance footage shows what happened next.

A small, shadowy figure - Mosee-Palmer - is illuminated for a moment by the headlights of an oncoming car. The young mother is trying to get up.

The driver doesn't swerve, doesn't seem to even tap the brakes. The dark-colored four-door sedan plows into Mosee-Palmer, rolls over her body and continues across Spruce Street as if nothing happened.

Another motorist got out of his car and helped Mosee-Palmer, whose body lay in a motionless heap in the middle of the road.

'10 weeks pregnant'

Worry started to gnaw at Mosee-Palmer's family when she didn't show up at CHOP to visit her daughter.

"I started calling her and didn't get an answer," Asenath Brown, Mosee-Palmer's mother, said during a recent interview with the Daily News.

"I kept leaving the same message: 'Call your mom. Call your mom.' But she never did," she said.

The two had talked earlier in the day about getting together to make a grain soup that Mosee-Palmer loved because both had felt the first hint of an autumn chill in the air.

"Her twin sister, Monique, called me from North Carolina and said, 'Mom, something's wrong. Why aren't you calling the morgue or the hospitals?' "

Brown started to steel herself for the worst. The hours continued to drag by, every moment filled with dread, until the family found out that Mosee-Palmer was in critical condition at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

"She had bleeding on the brain, multiple fractures to the face, a fractured jaw, a fractured vertebrae in her neck and a bruised lung," Brown said.

Doctors told Brown and Mosee-Palmer's husband, Tyrell Palmer, that the young mother would face multiple surgeries and a long, grueling recovery.

"And then they said, 'By the way, she's 10 weeks pregnant,' " Brown said, a small smile spreading across her face. "We didn't know that."

Amazingly, the baby growing inside of Mosee-Palmer was not harmed by the violent accident that nearly ended her life.

Now, more than two weeks after the crash, Mosee-Palmer is awake and beginning to recuperate at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital.

She's had surgeries on her shoulder and her jaw, which had to be wired shut to repair two fractures. She suffers from double vision, and her short-term memory is frayed.

"She'll get irritated," Brown said, "and ask the nurses, 'Where's my mom?' I tell her that I've been there every day, but she doesn't remember."

Brown lowered her gaze to a tattered old box that used to hold her daughter's ice skates, but now is filled with childhood pictures of Mosee-Palmer and her twin.

'Unconscionable'

The family has had a lot on its plate. Brown, a retired school district police officer, is still recovering from a complicated 2011 back surgery. Her elderly mother had knee surgery last week.

Mosee-Palmer's daughter, who was born at a mere 14 ounces, has a feeding tube and has spent much of her young life in the hospital, undergoing surgeries on her heart, eyes and legs.

If that weren't enough, Tyrell Palmer recently lost his job as a chef in Center City, Brown said.

"When my daughter gets released, she's going to have to come here to recover," Brown said, waving her hand across the tidy, cozy living room of her North Philadelphia house. "We're going to have to pull together to make this work."

Ironically, Mosee-Palmer recently told her mother that she wanted to get her driver's license, because she was growing tired of relying on a bicycle to get back and forth from CHOP to the apartment she and her husband share at 52nd Street and Cedar Avenue.

That goal will have to wait. In the meantime, Brown said her family simply wants justice for her daughter.

Police said the car that struck Mosee-Palmer likely has damage on the driver's side of the front fender.

"This person was an animal. You could see clearly that they didn't try to break, they just kept on going," Brown said. "To just leave someone and not even try to offer assistance, that's unconscionable."

Tipsters can contact the police Accident Investigation Division at 215-685-3180.


On Twitter: @dgambacorta

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