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Drunk Rental Driver Kills 11-year-old

Max DrosiOn Sunday, a two-car collision resulted in one of the vehicles smashing into a storefront. An 11-year-old girl was killed in the crash and four others were injured. Police are saying the crash was caused by the man driving a rental vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The collision happened around 12:30pm in South Philadelphia, and police say 28-year-old Miami, Florida resident Max Drosi was driving a rented 2012 Chevrolet Impala when he went through a red light at the intersection of 8th Street and Washington Avenue. He smashed into the side of a 2003 Nissan SUV, which spun out of control and ended up crashing into a nearby seafood restaurant.

Investigators say Samantha Nguyen-Ortanez, the 11-year-old girl, was pinned between the SUV and the storefront, and she died at the scene from her injuries. She was from Sickelerville, New Jersey, attended Erial Elementary School, and was a Girl Scout. Her 25-year-old stepmother and 3-year-old brother were taken to Jefferson University Hospital in stable condition, along with a 46-year-old male employee at the seafood restaurant who was also hit by the SUV. The 48-year-old female driver of the Nissan SUV was taken to Hahnemann Hospital to be treated for a shoulder injury.

The owner of the restaurant, Captain Jesse’s, witnessed the accident. Jesse Giordano said that he was shaken up by the incident and was now trying to get things back together. One minute he was doing business, and the next all this happened. It’s insane, and he can’t believe it. He added that he feels so terrible for the family.

Police and Giordano believe young Samantha was walking with her family when the collision happened. Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Joe Sullivan says the family was enjoying shopping on Sunday afternoon and lost a young girl because of someone else’s negligence. They believe Drosi was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. They also say he was distracted by his GPS when the crash happened. Speed wasn’t a factor in the crash, he noted.

Investigators also said that the female driver of the Nissan SUV wasn’t at fault and had obeyed the traffic laws at the time of the collision. Sullivan said the accident was caused by the male driver of the rented Chevrolet Impala, who was distracted and drove through a red light. They do believe part of the cause was that the male driver was under the influence of some substance.

On Monday, locals left flowers at a makeshift memorial for Samantha. A vigil for the 11-year-old was held at 6pm on Monday night. Meanwhile, Drosi has been charged for homicide while driving under the influence, homicide by vehicle, reckless endangerment and with four counts of aggravated assault while driving under the influence. Authorities will be reviewing surveillance video from stores in the area.




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