Mastery principal resigns amid hit-and-run charges; trial goes to higher court

Kristen Johanson
June 18, 2019 - 3:14 pm
Criminal Justice Center

Holli Stephens/KYW Newsradio, file

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The now former principal of a Philadelphia elementary school has been arrested as a suspect in a fatal hit-and-run nearly two years ago. 

On Tuesday, he waived his preliminary hearing, and his trial will move onto a higher court.

Jovan Weaver, 37, was arrested in early April. Investigators believe he was driving a red Lexus near the intersection of City Avenue and 54th Street in the late evening of Dec. 26, 2017, when he hit 58-year old Anthony Rodgers as he was crossing the street.

Rodgers' unconscious body was found in the street and taken to Lankenau Medical Center, where he died. 

Authorities believe Weaver fled the scene and drove his car from Wynnefield to North 19th Street in Logan, where he left it after allegedly trying to set the car on fire. 

Weaver's employer, Mastery Charter Schools, wasn't notified about his arrest until last week. When Mastery found out, Weaver was placed on administrative leave, but then resigned from his position as principal at John Wister Elementary School in Germantown.

Staff at Wister Elementary found out about Weaver's resignation on Friday, while parents were told by school officials Monday. 

Weaver's attorney, Fred Perri, said Tuesday his client has admitted to his wrongdoings.

"Mr. Weaver is deeply saddened and haunted by the consequences of his conduct related to this tragic accident," he said. "Not a day goes by that he doesn’t say a prayer for the victim and his family members for the loss of a loved one."

Outside the courthouse Tuesday, tensions were heightened after the victim’s family questioned why Weaver left Rodgers in the street.

Weaver was a celebrated educator, but he now faces charges of vehicular homicide and tampering with evidence, among others. 

Dressed in a gray suit and surrounded by family at the Criminal Justice Center, Weaver shared his remorse and echoed his love for his school and his community. The victim's family continued to follow Weaver to his car.

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KYW Newsradio's Dan Wing contributed to this report.