Ethan Villavicencio, 7, Killed by Motorist Inside Bronx Restaurant [Updated]

A motorist drove into a Bronx restaurant Thursday, killing 7-year-old Ethan Villavicencio and injuring the boy’s sister and father.

[Update: According to court records, Oduro was charged with one D felony count and two misdemeanor counts of leaving the scene of an accident with injury, plus one traffic infraction. Class D felonies carry penalties ranging from probation to seven years in prison. DA Robert Johnson filed no charges for the act of killing Ethan Villavicencio.]

Ethan, his 5-year-old sister and their dad were eating ice cream in Kennedy Fried Chicken at 3275 Westchester Avenue in Pelham Bay at around 5:30 p.m. when a man backed an SUV through the storefront, according to reports.

Ethan Villavicencio
Ethan Villavicencio

From the Daily News:

A Mercedes-Benz SUV reversed into the restaurant, shattering glass, overturning tables and pinning the boy against a side wall, witnesses said.

“There was a crater where the boy hit the wall,” said bus driver Luis Cruz, 52.

Ethan lay on the floor, conscious but barely able to move, Cruz said. His sister and father stood over him.

“The father was a bloody mess. He was covered with blood and he was trying to tend to his son. The blood from his face was dripping down on the boy,” Cruz said. “It was heartbreaking.”

As witnesses pounded on the vehicle, screaming at the driver that there were children under the car, the man drove away, heading west on Westchester Avenue before he was stopped by witnesses and traffic enforcement agents, reports said.

“One gentleman opened the door to try to grab the driver out to keep him from getting away,” witness Luis Cruz told the Post. “He [the driver] just pushed the gas and the person just couldn’t hold on.”

Ethan was reportedly conscious at the scene but died at Jacobi Medical Center. His sister and father were hospitalized.

Kwasi Oduro, 73, of the Bronx, was charged with one count of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death and two counts of leaving the scene of an injury crash, according to WPIX.

Police said Oduro was attempting to park when the crash occurred. Video of the crash shows the driver backing parallel to the curb before accelerating across the sidewalk into the storefront, pausing for a few seconds, then speeding away.

Had this driver not fled the scene he would in all likelihood not have been charged with a crime. In March a speeding green cab driver fatally struck 5-year-old Tierre Clark on a Grand Concourse sidewalk, and last October a motorist killed 8-year-old Rylee Ramos and hit nine other people on the sidewalk outside a school in Kingsbridge. Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson filed no charges against either of those drivers.

Ethan and his sister were the second and third children hit by curb-jumping motorists in four days. On Monday a driver ran over 4-year-old Oscar Chen on the sidewalk outside a grocery store in Sunset Park. Miraculously, Oscar was not seriously hurt. NYPD and Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson filed no charges against the driver.

Ethan Villavicencio was at least the fourth child age 14 and under killed by a New York City driver in 2015, and the 12th child victim since January 2014, according to crash data compiled by Streetsblog. It was reported this week that 8-year-old Sincere Atkins, hit as he played outside his grandmother’s Queens apartment building on Memorial Day, died days later from his injuries. NYPD and Queens DA Richard Brown filed no charges.

Ethan was killed the day after family and classmates of Cooper Stock designated W. 97th Street at West End Avenue as Cooper Stock Way. Cooper, 9, was killed by a turning cab driver in January 2014 as he and his father crossed the street in the crosswalk with the signal. The driver was not charged with a crime by Manhattan DA Cy Vance.

  • Matthias

    Charged with leaving the scene…not charged with killing the boy. So messed up.

  • AnoNYC

    Seniors should be retested regularly if they want to continue driving. This shouldn’t happen.

  • Brad Aaron

    You hear from DAs that this is because felony leaving the scene is a relatively serious charge, and it is.

    But from what I’ve seen the more charges brought, the more likely it is that the driver will actually be penalized, even if, as most often happens, the case ends with a plea deal.

    This case hasn’t shown up online yet, so it could be that additional charges were filed.

  • Joe R.

    Totally ridiculous people can’t be safe from cars even on sidewalks, or inside buildings. Since drivers can’t be trusted to keep their cars in the street we need to protect sidewalks with bollards.

  • armyvet00

    Why just seniors? Everyone, every 5 years. Maybe every 2 years after 70?

  • armyvet00

    Which leads to the paradox that if the driver was drunk and drove this poorly it would be highly likely that criminal charges would be brought. But a sober driver being this dangerous and unskilled with large machinery is treated like its just a fact of life, instead of something that can be addressed through more rigorous testing initially and and retesting/training requirements through out one’s time as a driver.

  • AnoNYC

    I agree, but especially seniors. This population should have the shortest intervals.

  • com63

    If he had stayed at the scene, he probably won’t have been charged. It would just be an “accident.”

  • dr2chase

    And how about a speed governor for reverse? How fast do you need to back up, anyway?

  • Joe R.

    Agreed. That’s a really simple fix which even the auto companies shouldn’t have any rational rejection of. Govern the speed in reverse to 5 or 6 mph maximum. There’s absolutely no foreseeable situation where you would need to back up faster than that. Also, it would stop these jackasses who back up at 30 mph to grab a parking spot which was just vacated behind them.

  • Ian Turner

    Unless he was drunk.

  • Cold Shoaler

    “these jackasses who back up at 30 mph to grab a parking spot which was just vacated behind them.” 1000x yes to this. I do everything I can to interfere with these fools in my neighborhood. I know it’s only a matter of time before the idiot turns out to be someone I know. Not looking forward to that, but this all too common ‘maneuver’ is just insanely dangerous.

  • Eric McClure

    These are really good points. There’s just no good reason for motor vehicles to be able to reach speeds of more than a few miles an hour in reverse.

    The only crash I can recall from 15+ years on my block in Brooklyn was when a woman jammed on the gas in reverse and more or less ended up with her car on top of a parked car.

  • Maggie

    I hate that “leaving the scene of an accident” is a label that anyone in our civic sphere is comfortable using for this violent, bloody spasm. And no charges on the 7-year-old’s behalf? WTF. Ruben Diaz should be screaming bloody murder.

  • Some Asshole

    Folks pounded on the vehicle. As we’ve seen in Minneapolis when some folks decided to drive into a protest, this guy may try to claim he was scared off by the violent vigilante mob, or some such.

  • Coupon Pocket


Today’s Headlines

Transit Is Lower on Albany’s Agenda Than Dogs Eating at Cafes (NYT) City Council Wants de Blasio to Double Vision Zero Great Streets Funding (News) 4-Year-Old in Driver’s Seat of Daycare Van Runs Over, Injures 2-Year-Old (Advance, News, Post, WNBC) Funeral to Be Held Today for Ethan Villavicencio, 7, Killed by Driver in Bronx Restaurant (WCBS, […]