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July 28, 2018

A car crash in Northern Liberties left a van upside down, and left us with questions

We know some facts, but not all the facts

Investigations Car Crashes
Police lights arrests crime Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Kristen Oswald, of Royersford, Montgomery County, died during an Ironman triathlon in Ohio on Sunday after being struck by a commercial truck struck while she was cycling on the course. 

What we have here is a case of putting pieces together — and we’re still looking for more.

On Friday afternoon, a few posts on a (closed) Facebook group called “Northern Liberties Neighbors” and a post and comments on Reddit were discussing the same thing: a car crash in Northern Liberties.

Most posts had photos or videos of the aftermath, which was quite a scene: a van is left upside down, surrounding cars are smashed, and bystanders (including a police officer) are stunned:

Grand Theft Auto VI: Northern Liberties

One helpful commenter left a link to a video from a Nest Video Doorbell facing the street that seems to be connected to the crash. You can watch it here

The video seems to check all the boxes concerning the discussion about the crash. It shows a caravan (check) going quite fast through an intersection (check) and then, off screen, a loud crash is heard (check). We don’t get to see exactly how the van ended up in its current state with our own eyes, but we can put two and two together.

The interesting part of our internet triangulation is that the person who posted pictures on Reddit, r/FunkeDope, said the van was stolen.

From the post:

“Dude steals a van, is doing 70mph down 3rd St. Rear ends this black car, gets air, barrel rolls over the car, and they take out like 4-5 parked cars. Driver just gets out and runs the f*** away.”

It’s not a huge leap to make — why else would someone be tearing through stop signs in a car, and then just abandon it when they crash? — but it’s unlikely r/FunkeDope managed to ask the person driving the van if they’d stolen it before they ran away.

Unfortunately, r/FunkeDope hasn’t returned PhillyVoice’s contacts for more information, and Philadelphia Police did not immediately return request for comment Friday evening or Saturday morning.

If this is (was?) your van, or if you have any more information about this crash, please drop me a line at because I am now invested in putting all these pieces together.

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