Yesterday morning, a 6-year-old boy died after being struck by a MTA tow truck in East Harlem near the RFK Bridge. Max Mendez and his mother, Erika Lorenzo, who were walking to the Wagner Pool on East 124th Street for swim lessons, were both struck. Lorenzo, 7 months pregnant, told the Post, "I will never recover from the death of my son, but I do want justice."
According to the Wall Street Journal, "The pair were apparently crossing a stretch of road without a crosswalk, a path that many nearby residents and workers use, but say is unsafe. As the truck began moving toward them, Ms. Lorenzo held her son's hand, trying to run to avoid being hit... Ms. Lorenzo said she was waiting for the light to change and that she lost her son's grip when she was hit." However, she told the Post that she was holding Max's hand, "I wouldn't let go of my son for nothing in the world."
The MTA Truck was heading to the RFK Bridge to attend to a disabled vehicle and the MTA said that the driver tested negative for alcohol. Some witnesses told the WSJ the driver looked behind him to make sure he wasn't pulling in front of traffic—but ended up not seeing Lorenzo and her son in front of him; some told the Post that he was on his cellphone. Police do not believe any criminality was involved).
The boy's legs were crushed and his body had to removed from the truck's wheel. One driver jumped out of his car to perform CPR on him before EMT arrived. A neighborhood resident said, "There should be a light before you make the turn onto the ramp... It's really hard to get across there for grownups and kids." Another said a crosswalk would be good, "People come speeding around when they get ready to go onto the bridge."