Bucks cops seek driver in fatal hit-and-run

Posted: January 29, 2014

POLICE IN Bucks County are seeking help in identifying the driver in a fatal hit-and-run crash early yesterday.

Christine Witte, 51, was struck as she was walking on Jacksonville Road near Almshouse in Warminster, and the driver didn't stop, a spokesman for Northampton Township Police said.

Witte was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after the crash, which happened about 6:30 a.m. She was struck in front of the home she shares with her elderly parents, according to news reports.

A few hours later, at the nearby Warminster SEPTA Regional Rail station, police seized a gray Dodge minivan connected to the crash, Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler said.

Its driver contacted police after seeing his vehicle in televised reports. He told police that he may have hit something on his way to the station before boarding a train to Center City, Heckler said.

He was brought in for questioning as a person of interest in the case, but was released. No charges had been filed as of last night, Heckler said.

The Northampton police spokesman said other vehicles may have hit Witte after she was initially struck. Damage observed on the seized Dodge is consistent with it striking something "low on the road, as opposed to something upright," Heckler said.

As investigators continued to probe the case, residents on the street were still reeling from the news.

"Considering this is a busy road, these things don't happen," said Cathy Nazaruk, who lives a few houses from where Witte was struck.

"You don't see too many people walking in the street, especially when there's not a lot of light."

Nazaruk said the posted speed limit on that tree-lined stretch of Jacksonville Road is 45 mph, and that it's not unusual to have heavy traffic there, particularly during the morning rush.

For that reason, Nazaruk, whose family has lived in the area for 10 years, said she always keeps a careful eye on her daughter as she waits for the school bus at the end of their driveway.

"It's very shocking, and very sad," she said of the collision. "You don't think about these things until they happen."

Tipsters should call Northampton Township Police at 215-322-61111.

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