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PHILADELPHIA -- William Foster, the driver accused of colliding with Sgt. Timothy Simpson's cruiser, has a lengthy criminal history.

And there was a lot of fury Tuesday over the fact that the 41-year-old from Levittown wasn't behind bars, Fox 29's Claudia Gomez reported.

In fact, he just got out of jail four days ago. What's more, what happened Monday night had happened before.

Fox 29 News has learned that Foster had been arrested 23 times in various jurisdictions dating back to 1986 -- including twice this month alone, police said.
Police said Foster was on probation at the time of Monday night's brutal crash, which killed Simpson, the fifth Philadelphia police officer killed in the line of duty in just over a year.

"He's on active probation. He has two open cases. He's in bench warrant status. He was driving with a suspended or revoked license," Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham said.

Foster has been charged with vehicular homicide while driving under the influence, third-degree murder, drug offenses and related counts.

But his rap sheet dates back to when he was 18 years old. MyFoxPhilly has obtained Foster's record, which shows he has been wreaking havoc on Bucks County mostly and spent his adult life in and out of prison.

More Details: See Foster's Criminal Record

In 1986, Foster was arrested in Bristol Township on burglary charges. In the 22 years that followed, Foster was arrested on mostly burglary, receiving stolen property and theft charges in Middletown, Bristol, Bensalem, Hilltown and Falls Townships in Pennsylvania, and twice in Trenton.

In 1999 alone, Foster was arrested five times between late September and late November in Bucks County.

Four years ago, police said he stole a minivan parked at a gas pump at a convenience store in Levittown.

Minutes later and only a few miles away in Morrisville, he slammed into another driver on the road and then ran away, leaving the other driver behind with injuries that needed hospitalization.

In all, Foster's record in Pennsylvania includes 17 arrests for theft, burglary, trespass, aggravated assault and the accident in 2004.

In Philadelphia alone, police picked him up three different times, for drug possession and failure to appear in court.

He even kept police busy in New Jersey, where they arrested him twice for drug possession and resisting arrest.

Foster, who grew up in Levittown, returned home to his parents' house after his latest stint behind bars.

"He just kept walking back and forth around his car. There was a black car there. Other than that, that was about it. … A black Camaro or a Trans-Am, I really couldn't tell you," neighbor Frank Crespo said.

Foster could not stay out of trouble. As one Bucks County police officer put it, he was a poster child for a heroin addict.

That addiction allegedly led him to Philadelphia for another score and the collision that would cost yet another police officer his life.

"It's clear -- It's clear that a person with this extensive background should not be on the street," Deputy Police Commissioner William Blackburn said.

Crespo said of his neighbor, "He should not have even been on the road or even out. I mean, you've got people out there that get put in jail for stealing in a grocery store or a candy store, and this guy's let loose -- he shouldn't have even been out."

Foster was actually let out of jail twice this month.

He was involved in a traffic stop in Philadelphia during which police found a disassembled shotgun in the car, Blackburn said. That did not constitute a weapons violation, but police did arrest Foster on an outstanding warrant.

Philadelphia police are still investigating who owns the shotgun, Blackburn said.

When he walked free in Philadelphia, he went back to Bucks County, where law enforcement picked him up again on Nov. 5. Police said he was arrested on a retail theft charge in Middletown.

Foster got out on Nov. 14 -- the same day that Simpson celebrated his 20th anniversary on the force.

Foster remained in custody Tuesday night, and it was unclear if he had a lawyer.
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