Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Boy fatally struck by his school bus in Williamsburg, cops say 

A 6-year-old boy was fatally struck by a school bus that he was supposed to board in Brooklyn Wednesday morning, cops said. 

The child's 9-year-old brother got on a yellow bus, operated by a private company, at South 5th and Hooper streets in Williamsburg just before 8:30 a.m., police said.

The younger boy then stepped into the street and was struck by the bus as it drove away, Sgt. Robert Denig of the NYPD Highway Patrol's Collision Investigation Squad said at an afternoon press conference. 

"That child should have been getting on to the bus," Denig said.

About two minutes later, a B60 MTA bus driver spotted the boy's body in the street and called a dispatcher, who dialed 911, Denig said. EMS responded and the boy was pronounced dead on scene. 

"[The bus driver] was the first one to notify the authorities about the body being on the ground," Moises Del Rio, the Transport Workers' Union Chair for the Grand Avenue Depot, told the Post. "She was the first one that noticed it, actually. The body was laying there….She told me there were five or six cars ahead of her that drove right by it."

"She observed the bus stop, and noticed a plastic bag lying on the ground," he added. "That caught her attention. She got off the bus to check it, and saw it was the child there laying dead."

"She took the bus, she angled it to block the road so nobody could pass," he added. 

The driver, who has been a bus operator for two-and-a-half years and has kids of her own, is now "traumatized" and needed to be checked out at the hospital, Del Rio said.

"This is a tragedy for all involved and our hearts go out to the child's family as well as to our colleague driving the B60 bus that came upon the scene and first discovered the horrible aftermath," MTA bus chief Craig Cipriano said in a statement. "We are fully cooperating with the NYPD investigation and providing all possible support to the bus operator as she recovers from trauma."

The school bus driver did not make it all the way to the school — which was not identified by cops — before he was located by the NYPD and stopped, Denig said. He is being interviewed by detectives, the sergeant added. 

"Preliminarily we believe the bus driver did not know he had struck the child, but the investigation is ongoing," he said.

A woman who identified herself as the boy's aunt, but declined to identify him, said he was one of five siblings. 

"He was a very happy child, good-natured," she said. "He went his way and was always happy."

"I am not blaming anybody," she added. "l, we believe in God. I have no idea, I guess the people who know more are going to see if it's someone's fault." 

Moses Weiser, a liaison between the Hasidic Satmar community and the NYPD who was at the scene said he knows the family.

"The child went to the bus and unfortunately was crushed," he said. "He was crossing the street. As far as I know, it was accidental."

Katherine Haley, 24, a neighbor who lives across the street from the boy's family, said that at least 20 children live on the block, and she often sees buses for the local yeshiva schools.

"They're children, they don't know to look for traffic," she said. "This is a very busy street, so I always kind of figured it's always a matter of time before a child gets hit. And unfortunately, a child died today because of it."

Mildred Rodriguez, who also lives across the street, said she saw the aftermath of the accident. 

"I even started crying," she said. "When the morgue people came, they unzippered the white bag, they put the child in the bag."

"To lose a child is devastating, it hurts," she said. "In a split-minute anything can happen."


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