Man and his 'Baby' killed by hit-run driver

Posted: January 08, 2014

RICHARD PATTERSON went out in search of his Baby on Sunday evening.

He found Baby, his 5-year-old poodle, roaming the streets of Upper Darby. He leashed the fluffy escape artist and headed back to his house.

But Patterson, 69, and Baby never made it home. A hit-and-run driver claimed both of their lives just a block away from Patterson's doorstep shortly after 5 p.m.

Now, Upper Darby police are searching for the heartless driver who had no thought for anyone's life but his or her own.

"Whoever was operating this car, their act was certainly callous, heinous and unfathomable," said Michael Chitwood, Upper Darby police superintendent.

When Baby escaped from the back yard of the Patterson home on Carriage Lane near Providence Road, Patterson went out looking for him. It's not clear where he found the dog, but the two were crossing Providence Road near Arbor Lea when they were struck, Chitwood said.

Police believe the striking vehicle was traveling about 60 mph in an area where the posted speed limit is 35.

It's unknown whether Patterson was run over and dragged behind the vehicle or whether he was tossed in the air, but police said the impact knocked him out of his shoes and caused his body to land roughly 50 feet from where he was hit, Chitwood said.

A witness to the crash told police that he saw several cars drive around the broken bodies of Patterson and his dog instead of stopping to help.

Surveillance footage from nearby gas stations shows that the offending vehicle is a white, midsize four-door car that now has heavy front-end damage, including a hanging bumper and probably a missing headlight, police said.

"These individuals who maim, critically injure and kill our community members are scumbags, pure and simple, and in my opinion, the laws don't justify the punishment they deserve," Chitwood said.

Patterson, a retired carpenter, and his wife were married for more than 45 years. The couple had three grown children, according to police. His family politely declined to comment yesterday.

Anyone with information on the driver or the vehicle involved is urged to call Upper Darby police at 610-734-7677.


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