A school bus driver fatally struck a 6-year-old boy in South Williamsburg on Wednesday morning, police said.
The victim, identified as Shimon Fried, was discovered at the intersection of Hooper and South Fifth Street, just steps from his home, shortly after 8:30 a.m. Police believe that Fried was following his older brother onto the yellow bus when he was hit by the driver, who then left the scene.
In a briefing with reporters, Sergeant Robert Denig, a member of the department's Collision Investigation Squad, repeatedly described the fatal crash as an "accident," adding that the driver likely "did not know that he struck the child." Denig did not provide evidence for the assertion, and noted the investigation is ongoing.
An MTA bus driver discovered the boy's body shortly after the incident, police said. Fried was pronounced dead at the scene. The school bus driver was located by police "relatively quickly" and was interviewed on Wednesday morning, according to a department spokesperson.
Photos posted to Twitter show several white sheets draped over the street, as well as a heavy police presence.
"It's devastating," Denig told reporters. "We're looking at culpability, who was at fault, the causation of the accident."
The crash marks the eighth hit-and-run fatality of 2021, and the second child killed in a crash this year, according to Transportation Alternatives. Last year was the deadliest year on city streets since Mayor Bill de Blasio took office.
“The growing number of hit-and-runs suggests that our mayor is losing control over his streets to reckless drivers," the group's executive director, Danny Harris, said in a statement. "This is compounded by the NYPD’s abysmal record of solving these crimes, making arrests in less than one percent of fatal hit-and-runs. The status quo is not working."
The tragedy comes as the New York City Council is meeting today to discuss a proposal to transfer responsibility for serious crash investigations from the NYPD to the Department of Transportation.
This story was updated to include the NYPD's preliminary findings.