Cop stops to help driver, driver runs away

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A stranded motorist whose car broke down in the middle of an Upper Darby road yesterday had an unusual reaction when a police officer stopped to help him - he ran away.

Upper Darby Ofc. Stephen Tarozzi was on patrol around 1:13 p.m. when he saw a car broken down in the middle of Marshall Road near Powell Lane that appeared to have a broken axle, police said.

As Tarozzi made a u-turn to help the stranded motorist, he saw the driver, who was later identified as Omar Quadar Hooks, walk away from his vehicle, according to court documents. As Tarozzi approached the car, Hooks picked up his pace and kept glancing over his shoulder at the cop, police said.

Tarozzi had to yell to Hooks to stop and when he finally did, Hooks denied that the broken-down car was his, police said. He claimed to have walked from Philadelphia and said he was going to his girlfriend's house, but he didn't know where it was, according to court documents.

That's when Tarozzi asked for Hooks' identification, because he thought he was either trying to flee an accident scene or that the car may have been stolen.

Hooks claimed he didn't have an I.D. and initially gave Tarozzi a false name and birth date that actually checked out, police said. However, when Hooks could not provide his Social Security number or address cops began looking for his PENNDOT photo but could not find one. Another officer who arrived at the scene actually recognized Hooks from prior contact. Hooks then admitted to his true identity, according to court documents.

Turns out, Hooks had two warrants out for his arrest and his license was DUI-suspended, police said. He was placed in the back of Tarozzi's cruiser but before they drove away, Hooks asked the officer to stop and grab the keys to his car, which he had thrown on the street near the vehicle.

Hooks claimed the car was his mother's, but police have not yet been able to contact the registered owner.

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