MARIA S. YOUNG / TIMES PHOTO
Authorities have confirmed the name of a third fatality of the fiery, high-speed car crash in Holmesburg on Dec. 20. Meanwhile, more details have emerged about the circumstances of the accident, as well as the tragic past of one of its victims.
Candice Walker, 23, was the backseat passenger in the rented Chevy Camaro that veered out of control on the 8000 block of Torresdale Ave. at about 2:45 a.m., striking a parked tractor-trailer and sparking a fire, followed by a series of explosions. Walker, of the 7100 block of Oxford Ave. in Burholme, died in the flames, as did Amonie Nicole Barton, 25, of Yeadon, and Giavanna Scavo, 22, of the 800 block of Brighton St. in Burholme.
Late on Dec. 21, police accident investigators confirmed that the car, which was driven by Barton, traveled northbound at about 70 mph, double the posted speed limit, in the moments before the impact. The car struck one tractor head-on, said Capt. John Wilczynski. Spilled gasoline and hazardous materials that were inside the trailer, reported varyingly as pesticides or herbicides, contributed to an inferno that engulfed both vehicles, along with a second tractor-trailer that was parked nearby.
City Councilman Bobby Henon, whose district includes the crash site, has said that the trucks were parked illegally and that Torresdale Avenue is posted for “no truck parking” from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Yet, the nearest signs are several hundred feet from the crash site. New signs were on order through the Streets Department at the time of the crash.
Tractor-trailers can be seen parked at the location in the daytime and overnight hours daily. CBS3 reported on Dec. 23 that some trucks had been ticketed there that day.
Police have not released information about where the victims were coming from or headed. Alcohol has not been linked to the crash officially. Accident investigators believe that had the trucks not been parked curbside, the Camaro likely would’ve struck another stationary object. Vertical supports for a railroad bridge, a stone wall, utility poles and trees line the street in the area.
The circumstances of the crash were eerily similar to another that occurred on Jan. 19, 2013, on the 9000 block of Torresdale Ave. when a 2010 Mazda driven by Mark Carrieri of Torresdale struck a parked tractor-trailer car carrier and burst into flames. Carrieri, 34, died at the scene. Police said high speed contributed to the 2:25 a.m. crash.
On Dec. 23, Barton’s husband and the father of her two children reportedly told CBS3 that he had retained a lawyer to investigate his wife’s crash, with particular interest in potentially liable parties. Joseph Barton said that he and his wife were separated, but that he spoke with her and their two children, Jayden, 7, and Jordyn, 5, regularly.
A GoFundMe page, “Blessings for Jayden and Jordyn,” has been created to raise money in support of the children.
A separate GoFundMe page, “Candice Walker Memorial Fund,” has been created to help with her funeral expenses and other family needs. Her Facebook profile states that she was a Virginia Beach native who moved to Philadelphia and attended Northeast High School before studying nursing at Holy Family University. She worked at Flynn & O’Hara Uniforms, Ross and Five Guys.
Meanwhile, Scavo’s family and friends are dealing with a second horrific tragedy involving the young woman. In 1997, when she was 3, her father shot and killed her mother, her mother’s boyfriend and her maternal grandmother in the midst of a marital and custody dispute between the parents. Scavo was in her mother’s arms at the time and suffered a bullet wound of the shoulder.
The Northeast Times interviewed her and her maternal grandfather, Robert Carsello, four years later. Her father, Keith Scavo, had been convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death, before he died of natural causes in prison.
Carsello, who witnessed the shootings but survived after fleeing through a basement door, had taken custody of the girl. Gia, who would later adopt her mother’s maiden surname, Abgarian, had become an “A” student and a Girl Scout Brownie. She spoke confidently and joyfully of her new home and her fond memories of her mother. ••
MARIA S. YOUNG / TIMES PHOTO
In loving memory: A memorial has been erected at the Holmesburg crash site where three women died on Dec. 20. MARIA S. YOUNG / TIMES PHOTO