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Photo from the Philadelphia Police Department.

A 19-year-old dirt bike rider was charged in the hit-and-run crash that caused fatal injuries to a 17-year-old skateboarder on May 15 in North Philadelphia.

Kevin Rubio turned himself into the Philadelphia Police Department on May 26 after colliding with Jesus Gomez Rosario — who died two days later at Temple University Hospital — at the intersection of Allegheny Avenue and Front Street in Fairhill. Rubio was charged with homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter, accident involving death, and related charges. 

Rubio was traveling eastbound in the center of Allegheny Avenue at a high rate of speed when he hit westbound Rosario with significant impact, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Shortly before the accident, Rubio was seen “popping wheelies” down the street with his dirt bike. The arrest ended a weeklong search for Rubio, who fled the scene immediately after the incident occurred. 

Dirt bikes and ATVs are illegal to drive on Philadelphia streets. In 2021, the Philadelphia City Council passed a bill that made the use of these vehicles subject to a $2,000 fine and confiscation of the vehicle by Philadelphia Police, 6ABC reported. Councilmember Mark Squilla cited “safety concerns” and “numerous complaints from residents” as to why City Council created the bill, which was passed unanimously. 

Despite this, use of these vehicles remains common citywide. Four days after the collision of Rubio and Rosario, 29-year-old Victoria Rose Walker was killed in Northeast Philadelphia when driving her ATV in the in the wrong direction. She crashed into a car while trying to cross into the correct lane, PhillyVoice reported. Additionally, 6ABC reported that illegal vehicle owners often organize rides on social media and “swarm” Philadelphia streets in large numbers, which is expected to increase in frequency throughout the summer months.

To combat these traffic death trends, Philadelphia announced in February that Chestnut and Market streets were to undergo bike lane construction and general repair, contributing to the city's Vision Zero initiative to eliminate all traffic-related deaths by 2030. Other streets such as Washington Avenue will also be expanded to accommodate vehicle and bike traffic. 

Rosario was a junior at Esperanza Academy Charter School who was passionate about music and skateboarding, according to a post on the school’s Instagram page. He is remembered for his “charismatic, congenial, and respectful personality,” as well as being a “notable member” of the Esperanza Academy school community. 

A vigil was held for Rosario at the scene of the accident on May 19 by family and friends. Esperanza Academy said that it “will miss his presence both now and in the years to come.”