Driver Finally Sentenced in Death of Steakhouse Chef

( — The man whom prosecutors said intentionally killed a Philadelphia steakhouse chef in a drug-induced hit-and-run spree two years ago pleaded guilty last week to third-degree murder, the Associated Press reported.

Kareen Welton, 43, appeared in Montgomery County Court last Friday, where he also pleaded guilty to attempted murder, robbery of a motor vehicle, and three counts of aggravated assault in the predawn joyride that began in the city center of Philadelphia and ended 30 miles away in Montgomery County.

As part of the plea deal, prosecutors agreed to drop the charge of first-degree murder in the death of chef Adriana Moreno-Sanchez. However, Welton’s deal does not include a sentencing agreement.

According to prosecutors, in July 2021, Welton stole a woman’s car after she left it running, then, after driving to a friend’s home to steal a poodle, went on a violent joyride, striking two people riding a motorcycle before hitting and killing 31-year-old Moreno-Sanchez as she was leaving the restaurant after her shift.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Welton drove onto the curb and struck Moreno-Sanchez before making a U-turn and driving back over her a second time. He then stopped the vehicle to steal Moreno-Sanchez’s jacket before driving off.

Moreno-Sanchez later died at a nearby hospital.

After driving away, Welton struck more vehicles and people before he abandoned the car. He later attempted to car-jack another vehicle, but after failing to pull the female driver out, he stole another car a few blocks away and began heading out of Philadelphia, striking a bicyclist on his way. He was eventually spotted by police in Collegeville, and during the subsequent chase, he deliberately swerved into oncoming traffic, striking and critically injuring a jogger.

Welton was arrested in Trappe, Pennsylvania, in Montgomery County, after pulling into a gas station and attempting to steal a bicycle from a man nearby. Drug screening later revealed that Welton was high on marijuana and PCP at the time.

Assistant District Attorney Roderick Fancher said he would be seeking significant prison time, including consecutive sentences, for “each and every victim of this rampage.”

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