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Man charged in deadly Port Richmond hit-and-run crash was out on bail on 2022 case

DA Krasner talks ways to prevent illegal street racing in Philadelphia
DA Krasner talks ways to prevent illegal street racing in Philadelphia 02:18

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Officials met to discuss dangerous street racing in Philadelphia on Wednesday. 

This comes after police say they found the man responsible for hitting and killing an innocent person with his car Tuesday.

On Oct. 2 of last year at Broad and York Streets, a meet-up in which a rowdy crowd outnumbering police performed automotive stunts, including drifting, Joseph Vannauker was among the crowd that night and would be arrested and charged while at a different location on the 1900 block of Sedgley Street.

"The case that Mr. Vannauker was initially arrested for in October of 2022 is upsetting because it's also related to drifting and the same type of crime that he's currently arrested for as of today," Alison Neveil, of the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office, said.

Vannauker, 19, of Levittown, was arrested shortly after midnight on Tuesday, Aug. 22 in Pennsauken, N.J. He's been charged with a litany of offenses, including third-degree murder and homicide by vehicle after hitting and killing 37-year-old Gabriel Leon as he was crossing the street at Castor and Aramingo Avenues.


Vanuaker's Dodge Charger was speeding in excess of 60 miles per hour when he hit Leon, sending him airborne and knocking his shoes off his feet. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Vannauker was out on bail while awaiting trial in the October case. 

"The conditions of his bail included not committing new crimes," District Attorney Larry Krasner said. 

Vannauker's bail is now set at $1.1 million and he remains in custody. Meanwhile, Krasner addressed ways he believes future tragedies such as this one borne out of illegal street racing-can be prevented.

"We believe that additional collaboration using some modern technology, some modern enforcement techniques that are not always used, we may be able to succeed in apprehending more of the organizers, more of the participants and we may therefore be able to deter this activity moving forward," Krasner said. 

 But, for now, Leon, aka Gabe, will be missed and remembered for the kind and gentle soul he was.

"He didn't deserve to die the way he died, not that way, not Gabe," Carmen Laboy said. 

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