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Police: Arrest made in hit-and-run that killed 3-year-old girl

By Catherine Hawley, Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Jun 15 2012 08:41:44 AM CDT
Updated On: Jun 15 2012 10:39:47 PM CDT

Police: Man who hit, killed 3-year-old girl arrested

READING, Pa. -

A teenager is behind bars after Reading police say he slammed a pickup truck into a 3-year-old girl and left her for dead.

Justin Taylor, 18, of Wernersville was arrested and arraigned Friday evening. The grieving family of little Ja-Lexy Bobet say they're relieved.

Distraught family members of Ja-Lexy lined the streets as the man accused of striking and killing the young girl was led away in handcuffs. You could hear their raw cries of anguish. Family members held onto each other as their emotions poured out, and so did their outrage.

"He just left her there like she was nothing," cried Ja-Lexy's mother Gabriella Roman.

The arrest brings the heart broken family relief.

"I'm happy, it gave me some closure to know he's not out there hurting anybody else, but it won't bring my baby back, it's never gonna bring her back."

Friday a memorial at the sight of the deadly wreck grew with candles and kind words. Police say just before 7:00 Thursday evening a pick-up truck with Taylor behind the wheel blew through a stop sign barreling into Ja-Lexy and killing her. Witnesses say he never stopped.

In that instant, two lives changes forever.

"He's crushed, his heart is ripped, I know that for a fact," said Taylor's cousin Joshua Coulter.

Taylor's family is coping with the horrible tragedy and say they apologize to Ja-Lexy's family for what happened.

"My heart goes out to that family, but at the same time my heart goes out to him, it was far from intentional, it was 110% an accident and I just want him to know that his family is here for him and we love him," said Coulter choking back tears.

Hours after the deadly hit and run accident, investigators found a truck matching what they saw on surveillance videos abandoned near Mount Penn in Lower Alsace Township. Police tell WFMZ they knew Taylor was the driver.

The 18-year-old was on his way to turn himself in when officers picked him up.

"He panicked, he freaked out," explained Coulter. "He's 18 what are you gonna do, he just went through a tragic moment in a split second."

And now two families are feeling the consequences.

Taylor is charged with homicide by vehicle and investigators say other charges could be pending. Police say the pick-up Taylor was driving at the time of the wreck belonged to a friend and he does not have a drivers license.