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October 19, 2020

Philly man charged in hit-and-run that killed woman in Cheltenham

Investigators searched throughout region to locate vehicle involved in crash

Investigations Hit-and-Run

Authorities have charged 25-year-old Terrell Russell, of Philadelphia, in a fatal hit-and-run crash in Cheltenham Township on Sept. 27, 2020.

A Philadelphia man faces criminal charges for the hit-and-run crash that killed a 30-year-old woman in Cheltenham in late September, Montgomery County prosecutors said.

Terrell Russell, 25, was charged Monday with leaving the scene of a fatal accident, tampering with evidence, failing to render aid and related offenses in the Sept. 27 crash, which occurred on Cheltenham Avenue near Ogontz Avenue.

The victim, identified as Shanna Hurdle, of Philadelphia, was struck as she she stood in the center-left turn lane, according to crash investigators who reconstructed the scene. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Authorities had been searching for a 2020 GMC Acadia that was captured on surveillance video fleeing the scene. Investigators said the vehicle hit the brakes upon impact with the victim, throwing her about 150 feet. The vehicle then ran over her body as it fled with front-end damage.

Investigators obtained a list of all the 2020 GMC Acadias owned in Montgomery, Philadelphia, Bucks and Delaware counties and systematically eliminated the vehicles, using analysis of trim packages and in-person checks for crash damage.

When none of the vehicles produced a match, prosecutors turned to rental companies. They allege that Russell had rented a 2020 GMC Acadia from Enterprise Rental on Cheltenham Avenue on Sept. 18. Since the crash, investigators said, he had extended the rental contract twice, and still had not returned the vehicle.

Authorities further reviewed surveillance video that allegedly showed Russell inspecting a damaged GMC Acadia outside his residence in Philadelphia. Cell phone video confirmed that Russell took the same route home on the night of the crash, prosecutors said.

The vehicle ultimately was recovered on Oct. 15, with evidence of an attempt to repair the damage.

“This was an excellent investigation that combined high-tech investigative techniques with good old-fashioned police work to lead us to this defendant," Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said. "I also want to thank the public for helping with tips following the release of the still images of the car we were looking for. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the victim’s family and can only hope that knowing who hit Shanna and then left the scene of her death helps them during this difficult time.”

A preliminary hearing for Russell is scheduled for Oct. 29.