Press

After 4 months, hit-and-run driver arrested

JOE BRANDT Daily News Staff Writer
brandtj@phillynews.com, 215-854-4890

A DELAWARE COUNTY woman was arrested yesterday in the April hit-and-run death of a 4-year-old boy in Kingsessing.

Shanika Mason, 27, of Sharon Hill, turned herself in to police yesterday.

Mason is charged with vehicular homicide, accident involving death and involuntary manslaughter after her black SUV, a 2014 Ford Edge, fatally struck Abdul Latif Wilson on 57th Street near Litchfield in Kingsessing.

In an interview with theDaily News in May, the boy’s mother, Dominique Lockwood, said Latif – his family calls him by his middle name – held the family together.

He had been out playing with his two older brothers around 6:30 p.m. April 13, but she brought him back inside, worried that he was too close to the street.

Somehow, Latif slipped outside, she said, and darted out from between two parked cars when the Ford Edge hithim. When the driver sped away, she hit him again, police said.

Lockwood and her two young sons have since moved away from their home on Litchfield.

“This is a pain in my heart that I will never get over,” Lockwood said in April.

“She took our baby from us.”

The police Accident Investigation Division gathered information including DNA, cellphone records, surveillance video and witness statements to feed to the District Attorney’s Office to try to get a warrant for the driver of the car, Capt. John Wilczynski said yesterday.

“It just dragged on,” Wilczynski said. Mason wasn’t cooperating, and witnesses could say only that a black female had been driving.

“I’m sure it’s frustrating for the family members. We understand that, of course. Sometimes investigations take four days, a week. But this one was different. . . . I’m hopeful the mother can find some peace.”

A warrant was issued Tuesday after four months of investigation before Mason turned herself in accompanied by attorney Michael Diamondstein.

“We’re hopeful that the District Attorney’s Office will treat this as the accident that it was,” Diamondstein said last night.

Wilczynski said that Mason, who has no criminal history, didn’t give a statement to police.

“If Miss Mason had stopped right then and there, there wouldn’t have been any charges,” he said. “She could have gotten out of her car and called 9-1-1.”