A 9-year-old boy was fatally struck by a cab driver on the Upper West Side in front of his father on Friday evening. Taxi driver Koffi Komlani struck Cooper Stock and his father Dr. Richard Stock when he made a left-hand turn off 97th Street onto West End Avenue around 9 p.m. Friday. Komlani, 53, has been issued a summons for failure to yield to pedestrians, but the man who was driving behind him thinks it should have been more: "He had to be distracted because there’s no way he could not see them, if I did,” Ramon Gonzalez told the News.
Gonzalez, an assistant director of an educational nonprofit, was driving behind the cab with his own 3-year-old son, and witnessed the incident. "The father grabbed his son. They were both on the hood of the car for a second. The father fell off the passenger side. The son went underneath the driver’s-side tire, first the front one, then the rear," he said.
Gonzalez said Komlani didn't brake till after Cooper had gone under both tires: "He hit him and continued straight on. It almost looked like he was going to crash into some parked cars. Then he stopped."
"The father picked the boy up," Gonzalez continued. "He said, ‘Cooper wake up! Oh my God, oh my God!’ He placed the child on the hood of my car. I tried to help the little boy because he was choking on his own blood." Komlani remained at the scene as Gonzalez called 911.
Komlani's failure to yield summons will result in a fine of between $100-300. As the Post points out, at least 21 cab drivers have fatally struck pedestrians in the last five years, and only one has been given criminal charges.
Scott Stringer, an UWS resident and the former Manhattan borough president, released a statement about Cooper's death, as well as the death of a 73-year-old who was struck by a tour bus a block away that same night:
Last night's tragic pedestrian deaths on the Upper West Side send a clear and urgent message: The time for studying the 96th Street traffic corridor is over, and New York City needs to take action now that will prevent such fatalities in the future. I look forward to working with DOT to take all necessary steps to protect road users----pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists alike--and to implement a Vision Zero agenda that makes every street in every borough as safe as it can be. Our City has already had 9 traffic-related deaths in 2014, and my heart goes out to the families of last night's victims.
The family also released a statement about their son, who was a third grader at The Calhoun School on the UWS, and loved the Knicks, Yankees and classic rock: “Cooper was the life of the party even when there wasn’t a party,” the statement said. “He was light, he was reflective, he was beauty in motion, he was charismatic. He has been described as an old soul, and wise beyond his years.” According to the Times, a service for him will be held Monday at 11:45 a.m. at Riverside Memorial Chapel on 76th street and Amsterdam Avenue.
"It was a little boy who didn’t get to live his life," said Gonzalez. "One second you’re crossing the street with your dad, the next second you’re fighting to live."