A 6-year-old boy was struck and killed by a tractor-trailor on his way to school Thursday while crossing a Harlem intersection without a crossing guard.
Amar Diarrassouba was walking with his 9-year-old brother to P.S. 155. Most mornings a crossing guard met them at the intersection, but crossing guard Roman Flavia, 55, had not shown up for work yet. Amar was hit around 8 a.m. at the intersection of 117th Street and 1st Avenue. The brother was not injured.
The accident occurred only a block from the boy’s school. The white tractor-trailer had a green light at 117th Street, turned right onto 1st Avenue, and hit the first-grader as he crossed in the crosswalk. Police say the driver did not realize he hit the boy and had to be flagged down blocks later.
“A lot of people actually ran down the block to stop the truck,” Samar Preet, 23, who works at a gas station at the intersection. Preet says he saw a passerby pick up the boy, who was motionless and bleeding from the head. His bloodied backpack lay on the sidewalk in front of the gas station.
Flavia has since been suspended without pay for being absent from her post without authorization, said Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman. Crossing guards are allowed to take breaks, but they must log the time they leave and return.
“He was just a very beautiful little kid, very happy, always smiling,” said a teacher at P.S. 155, who declined to give her name because she was not allowed to speak to the press. “Very bright kid, like one of the top students in his class.”
The driver of the truck was issued a ticket for failing to yield to a pedestrian and failing to use due care. The investigation is ongoing, and criminal charges have not been filed.
“Our deepest sympathies, thoughts and prayers go out to Amar’s family, friends and schoolmates,” a statement issued by McLane Foodservice, the company the driver operated for, said. “We have launched an internal investigation into this tragedy and are fully cooperating with the N.Y.P.D. and all appropriate authorities.”
Source: NY Times