Update: Police have identified the driver who died as Marc Oliverio, 25, of the 1800 block of McKean Street in South Philadelphia.
Marquita Castleberry was taking a leisurely stroll late Monday afternoon near Penn's Landing when a car sped past her, crashed through a metal fence, flipped end over end, and plunged into the Delaware River.
"It looked like something from a movie," said Castleberry, 38, a city resident.
The man driving the car was rescued by divers, but later was pronounced dead at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.
Police said the car, a black Volkswagen, had been involved in an accident at Fourth and Arch Streets and the driver had fled the scene.
Shortly before 6 p.m., the Volkswagen zoomed down a ramp connecting the Chestnut Street bridge to Columbus Boulevard and hurtled into the water next to the Pier 3 condominiums, authorities said.
"There are no skid marks," said Battalion Chief Robert E. Clark, indicating that the brakes either failed or were not applied.
A police officer and two men who were at Pier 3 jumped into the water, authorities said. "One of them had [the driver's] hand but couldn't get him out," Clark said.
Police divers pulled the unconscious man, described as being in his mid-30s, from the car. He was pronounced dead at 7:04 p.m.
Castleberry said she was walking near the bottom of the Chestnut Street bridge off-ramp when the car flew by her within a few feet. "It happened so fast. I just froze," she said.
The car crashed through the metal fence and struck a concrete wall. The back of the car flipped up and the vehicle tumbled in midair before hitting the water, Castleberry said.