By MICHAEL P. RELLAHAN
A 16-year-old Oxford youth who drove over the body of a East Nottingham teenager during a drug-related robbery, killing him, was ordered sent to a juvenile placement center for serious offenders in a Juvenile Court hearing last week.
Fredrik W. Price Jr., who was adjudicated earlier this month on charges of homicide by vehicle, robbery, and conspiracy to commit robbery, did not contest the disposition of the case that left 19-year-old Anthony “Tony” Welhaf dead outside his Duck Farm Road home just before Christmas.
According to information provided to Common Pleas Judge Anthony Sarcione by Deputy District Attorney Renee Merion and Price’s attorney, Peter Kratsa of West Chester, Price — a tall, blond-haired youth wearing a black hooded sweatshirt — will be sent to the George Junior Republic treatment center for juvenile offenders in Grove City.
His placement will be reviewed every six months, and he will be under the court’s supervision until he turns 21.
Price was one of three teenagers charged with Welhaf’s death. State police, in court documents, said that one of the three, identified as 16-year-old Steve Poole, told them that the trio had gone to Welhaf’s home the night of his death with the intention of robbing him of marijuana that he had agreed to sell them.
Poole told an investigator that when the trio, with Price at the wheel of a 2001 Ford F-350 pickup truck, tried to leave the scene with the drugs without paying, Welhaf grabbed onto the passenger side door to try to stop them. As the truck drove way, Welhaf fell away from the auto and was crushed as it drove over his head and shoulders.
Poole told Trooper Matthew Pauly that when the truck hit Welhaf, “it felt like going over a speed bump.” The three men did not stop, and left Welhaf’s body in the middle of the road.
Poole is awaiting a juvenile disposition, while the third defendant, 19-year-old Benjamin Deasy, is being held in Chester County Prison awaiting trial in Common Pleas Court.
At the disposition hearing, part of the proceedings in Juvenile Court, Sarcione listened as Welhaf’s father described the trauma the loss of his son had caused their large family, and of the circumstances surrounding his death in December.
George Welhaf told Sarcione that his son had been looking forward to getting a job at Herr’s Snack Foods and to the summer, when the family typically would spend time at the shore on vacation. As he struggled to keep his composure, the 41-year-old U.S. Department of Defense worker said his son was a fun loving and hard working young man, very involved with family and friends, and that his loss had left a huge void in their lives.
“He would help people at school,” George Welhaf said of his son, a graduate of Oxford Area High School. “So many kids’ lives were changed for the better because of Anthony. We have lost a great son.”
George Welhaf said that the evening of Dec. 17, he and Anthony were working on fixing up an addition to their home in East Nottingham in preparation for holiday celebrations. He said Anthony hinted that he wanted to sneak outside to smoke a cigarette — part of a family secret between the two — and that he watched him go out a sliding glass door into the yard.
When more than 30 minutes had gone by, Anthony’s father told Sarcione he went outside looking for his son, only to see flashing lights and a body lying underneath a blanket in the street.
He was given the gruesome task of identifying his son’s body, which had suffered severe injuries. “No father should ever have to see their son like that,” George Welhaf told the judge, who listened in obvious distress to his words.
In court documents, police said the fatal accident had occurred around 7:30 p.m. at the intersection of Oxford Road and Duck Farm Road. He was pronounced dead at the scene, an apparent victim of a hit and run driver.
Surveillance video was able to capture the incident, however.