Yulia Sherman came to Northeast Philadelphia from the Soviet Union in 1978 and became a fixture in the area’s Russian immigrant community.
An entrepreneur, Sherman operated a Russian market in Bustleton and later opened an Eastern European restaurant called Odessa, named after the Ukrainian city she’s originally from, near Bustleton Avenue and Byberry Road.
“She loved the Bustleton area, gave back to the Bustleton area,” her son-in-law, Mark Ingerman, said. “Somerton was considered to be her home.”
Sherman, 82, was crossing Bustleton Avenue near the Leo Mall with a cart full of groceries at around 6 p.m. Thursday when she was killed in a hit-and-run crash.
Her family is pleading for witnesses to come forward with information to help investigators find the driver who left the scene.
“Just please let us know if anybody witnessed the accident to please contact the police as soon as possible so that our family can be at peace and we can find out exactly what happened,” her daughter, Alla Sherman, said.
Capt. Mark Overwise, of the Accident Investigation Division, said investigators believe the suspect was driving a dark-colored SUV and was last spotted possibly heading north on Bustleton.
Sherman had just finished shopping at NetCost Market and was making her way back to her home on the 300 block of Byberry Road.
She was in the crosswalk of the 11800 block of Bustleton when she was hit, but it’s not yet clear whether she had a green light, Overwise said.
Overwise said he doesn’t believe speed was a factor in the crash. Police are looking at surveillance video, but it might not give them much because most of the stores on the block are setback far from the street, he said.
“What we need are the people who were here 6 o’clock last night to tell us what they saw and tell us what happened,” Overwise said.
Ingerman urged witnesses to contact authorities. He briefly addressed reporters in Russian in an attempt to reach out to the immigrant community.
“This area is usually packed with people,” Ingerman said. “Somebody had to see something.”
Sherman had two children and five grandchildren.
“This woman took joy in everything,” Ingerman added. “There’s not one moment that I know of that I did not see her smile.”
Thursday’s crash was the sixth fatal accident this year on Bustleton Avenue, according to a police department database.
“Bustleton Avenue seems to be becoming the new Roosevelt Boulevard,” Overwise said.
Anyone with information about the crash is asked to contact the Accident Investigation Division at 215-685-3180. ••