Hit-and-Run in Reverse: Collingswood Teen Flees Scene, Unharmed
After he was struck while crossing Haddon Ave. Wednesday, 13-year-old Owen Knauss ran off, leaving a surprised motorist to notify police that they should look for the boy he'd hit with his car.
Checking her messages at work on Wednesday afternoon, Elizabeth Delaney was greeted by the familiar voice of her son, 13-year-old Owen Knauss.
It was what he said that stunned her.
"Hi Mom, I got hit by a car, but I’m OK."
From there, it was a race to put together the pieces of a story that all matched up—just not in the way you'd expect.
First things first
“Owen is surprisingly very well," Delaney told Patch on Thursday. "Despite all that happened, looking at him today, you would never know [that he was in an accident]."
According to Collingswood Police, Knauss was crossing Haddon Avenue at the intersection of Washington Avenue on March 20. (Delaney figures it was about 3 p.m.)
Knauss told his mom that he was in the crosswalk and that he had looked both ways before stepping out into the street. The driver of a blue Ford Mustang may not have seen him, but Knauss didn't see it, either.
"He doesn’t really remember the car hitting him so much as he remembers hearing the impact," Delaney said. "The next thing he knew, he was on the ground next to the car.
The driver stopped to ask Knauss if he was OK, "and Owen said, ‘Yeah, I’m fine,’ and got up and kept walking," Delaney said, incredulous.
"I told him, 'Owen, when there’s a hit-and-run, usually the driver is the one who leaves.'"
Man on the move
From the scene of the accident, Knauss went to Just Kids program at Tatem School, and then to a neighbor's home. The driver of the Mustang was left to notify police on his own (which he did), while eyewitnesses tried to piece the events together.
As soon as she got home from work, Delaney took her son to the hospital, where he stunned doctors and nurses by presenting with a clean bill of health.
She kept him home from school on Thursday, just as a precaution.
"He ran up the stairs when we got home from the ER," she said. "The police officers all said how lucky he is. The doctor shook his head and said how lucky he is."
What's most amazing, Delaney said, is that her son was better off than the car that struck him.
"The guy has a broken windshield and he’s missing the driver side mirror, and it’s possible that Owen caused the damage to this car," she said.
"We think that most of the damage to the car was from his backpack; his backpack never fell off of him."
No charges yet
Collingswood Police Chief Richard Sarlo said that police have yet to determine whether any charges would be filed in the incident.
"We’re not sure if there was a crosswalk violation or not," Sarlo said. "If the driver failed to yield to the pedestrian, then a motor vehicle summons would be issued.
"The driver did the right thing as far as stopping and helping the kid up," he said.
Sarlo said that although patrol officers "did a good job trying to locate this child in a timely fashion," they did miss him as he went from one spot to another spot.
"It was a tough time hunting him down," he said.
In the incredible luck and circumstance of the whole affair, however, Delaney told Patch that she never lost sight of the fact that "a lot of great people...came together to make sure Owen remained safe.
"I'm really grateful for the outpouring of support and help," she wrote in an e-mail, "especially from the Stone family and the ladies at Just Kids at Tatem for looking out for him immediately following the accident while I was driving towards home from work."