‘A life comes first,’ pleads rider’s son

PHILADELPHIA. The family of a 68-year-old man who was found dead on a SEPTA bus early Sunday after a trip across the city questioned yesterday why the man was left to die from a drug overdose without medical attention.

“The driver did what she was supposed to do. Dispatch told her to keep it moving – he said he didn’t want to delay service. This is a life,” said a stunned Keith Reynolds, Leonard Sedden’s eldest son. “A life comes first.”

Driver Natika Manfra called SEPTA’s control center at 4:03 a.m. to report that Sedden was unresponsive at the 69th Street Terminal. Both the control center and then a supervisor who determined Sedden was alive but unresponsive at 15th and Market streets told Manfra to finish her route. But when the bus and police arrived at Frankford Transportation Center, Sedden was dead.

SEPTA said all of its employees followed proper protocols, but that it’s reviewing the incident.

Reynolds had a suggestion: “If anyone’s in medical need, shouldn’t you at least have someone trail their route and maybe switch the bus at a stop?” he asked.

Sedden, his son said, was a good father to his four sons and three daughters and worked as a roofer. He was born in Hackensack, N.J., and later moved to South Jersey. He left Camden and moved to Philadelphia after his wife died in 1995. The St. John’s Hospice homeless shelter as his last known address.

“He taught all of us growing up how to roof. It led to some of us to become roofers as well,” Reynolds said. “He got us into construction.”

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