Hit-and-Run Driver Injures a Kid on His Way Home From School in Coney Island

The boy cries in agony after his was hit by the driver.
The boy cries in agony after his was hit by the driver.

An elementary school kid was struck by a driver in Coney Island as he walked home from school with his grandmother this afternoon — and the driver kept on going, fleeing the scene even as witnesses tried to flag her down.

According to witnesses, the boy had just left his school one block from the intersection of W. 20th Street and Mermaid Avenue and was waiting for the light with his grandmother.

An EMT tries to encourage the boy to let him inspect the injury.
An EMT tries to encourage the boy to let him inspect the injury.

The light changed and the boy started crossing W. 20th, but was bumped by the driver of a Volkswagen Jetta as she sped northbound through the now-red light. A witness said the driver also ran over the boy’s foot with her back tire.

Witnesses described a chaotic post-crash scene with the 10-year-old screaming in pain and crying, gripping his grandmother for comfort and not wanting anyone else, including a pleading EMT worker, to touch him.

“He couldn’t stand. He didn’t want anyone to help him,” said one witness. “One woman was screaming at the driver to stay, but she only slowed down for a second and sped off.”

Police could not provide any preliminary information.

It is unclear which school the boy attends, but the crash site is near several learning centers. Earlier this year, Streetsblog analyzed crash data to reveal that streets near schools are more dangerous on average than other city streets. On school days, uring the 8 a.m. hour, when hundreds of thousands of children stream into 1,600 city-run public schools, there are 57 percent more crashes and 25 percent more injuries per mile on streets near schools than on the city’s other streets. This disparity largely disappears on days when schools are closed.

The disparity continues during the so-called “pick-up” period, thanks to the increase in the number of cars on the road.

Chart: Streetsblog using city data
Chart: Streetsblog using city data

The Streetsblog investigation also found that are especially dangerous outside schools where most students are people of color, as the victim in Thursday’s crash is. In the 2019 school year, for example, the rate of people injured by drivers on school days was 43 percent higher outside school buildings where a majority of students were brown or Black than outside school buildings with majority-white students. Crashes are more common too. These disparities have existed for years.

The 60th Precinct, where the crash occurred, is a dangerous place to be a kid. So far this year, there have been 711 reported crashes, injuring 26 cyclists, 57 pedestrians and 206 motorists, according to city stats. Since 2018, there have been 15 crashes, injuring two cyclists and two motorists, at just the single intersection of W. 20th Street and Mermaid Avenue.

The crash occurred one day after Streetsblog reported that Council Member Inna Vernikov, who represents part of Coney Island, has been caught by camera systems speeding in school zones 23 times.

This is a breaking story and will be updated later.

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