On Friday morning, an 11-year-old boy was fatally struck by a dump truck in Queens. Victim Miguel Torres was walking to school to take a field trip to Grand Central Terminal when he was struck by the rear wheels of the truck while crossing the street at Northern Boulevard and 80th Street. Miguel was in the crosswalk and had the right of way; the driver, who left the scene not knowing he hit him, won't be charged in the death—but will get a traffic summons.
Witnesses said the scene of the accident was gruesome: “It was so bad, when the ambulance guy came, he was crying,” Olga Gonzalez told the Post. “The car hit [Miguel] so hard his shoes came off. I just saw a little kid in the middle of the street, and I just started crying.” Surveillance footage at a nearby deli showed Miguel buying Pop-Tarts and Sprite minutes before the accident. Miguel's uncle, Lazaro Zubizarreta, told them: “He was a child that everybody loved and loved everyone. He was very happy. He was just a great child.”
School officials at IS 145, where Miguel attended, held an assembly to tell classmates about his death: “[The principal told us] we have to be careful. Our children have to be careful when crossing the street when there’s a red light,” one seventh-grader told the Post. “The parents have to be with the child at all times and take better care of their child.”
This was the third fatal hit-and-run in Queens this week—on Wednesday, a 38-year-old woman was fatally struck crossing Hillside Avenue in Floral Park; and 30-year-old Maria Beria was fatally struck crossing 111th Street in Jamaica. Michael Murphy of Transportation Alternatives told us he was outraged by the meager consequences for the driver:
A driver struck and killed a child who was in the crosswalk and had the light. Failure to yield is a violation of the law. Yet there will be no criminal charges for the driver, merely a traffic summons. A summons! That's not even a slap on the wrist. This was the third hit-and-run death in Queens in three days. This is an outrage and New Yorkers deserve to know what will be done about the NYPD's consistent failure to hold dangerous drivers accountable.