Driver Jumps a Curb and Hits Five Children Near Queens School

File photo: Dave Colon
File photo: Dave Colon

A motorist dropping his child off at school jumped a curb and injured several students in Queens this morning, according to officials and published reports.

The driver of a Honda SUV drove onto the sidewalk at Grand Avenue and 71st Street in Maspeth at around 7:49 a.m., striking five people. The victims were all age 12 or 13, reports say, and had just exited a deli across the street from I.S. 73, Frank Sansivieri Intermediate School. From DNAinfo:

In the wake of the horrific crash, a group of onlookers sprang into action, lifting the car in a desperate attempt to rescue two girls who were pinned underneath.

“We lifted the car just enough to get the girls out,” said David Foubister, 40, who was walking his dog, Gucci, when he heard cries for help.

“It was a whole community effort. The girls were in shock.”

Another witness, Lyns Garcia, saw the crash and rushed over to help.

One of the girls was still clutching an egg sandwich, as well as a phone that showed a text message from her mom.

“The mom had just texted a bunch of hearts and smileys,” said Garcia, 44. “The girl said, ‘Hold me.’

Moments later, the girl’s mom called and Garcia told her what happened to her daughter, whose leg appeared twisted, according to the witness.

The victims were taken to Elmhurst Hospital with “non life-threatening injuries,” according to NYPD. FDNY said the victims were “yellow tagged,” which according to an FDNY online forum means they sustained “injuries that will require further, but not necessarily immediate, attention.”

DNAinfo reports that according to police one girl suffered a broken leg another a broken hip. Both girls are 13. One boy, 12, has a leg injury and another, 14, was treated for a swollen arm.

A police spokesperson and witnesses said the driver was attempting to park. City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley was on the scene. “It was the driver’s mistake,” Crowley said. “He was parking the car to drop his child off at school and he pressed in the gas instead of the brake. He thought he was slowing down but he pushed the gas and jumped the curb.”

An investigation into the crash is ongoing, according to NYPD. The Post reported that the driver was administered a breath test at the scene.

Melanie Huerta, 12, was getting off the bus precariously close to the mayhem.

“If I took one step I could’ve gotten hit,” she told the Post. “The car just came out of nowhere and I saw the car crash into my friend  Ashley. She got stuck under the car. Then I saw other people just stop and try to pick up the car. I was shocked. I was shaking. The driver also got out to help lift the car.”

There is an elementary school two blocks from the crash site, and many children were in the area. Monday was the first day of class for public school kids.

Traffic crashes are the leading cause of  injury-related death for children in NYC. According to state DMV data, an average of five kids are hit by motorists in the city each day. At least six kids age 11 and under have been killed by city motorists in the past year. Injuries to children dropped 44 percent near 100 schools selected to receive federally-funded Safe Routes to School improvements. There are 1,200 school buildings in the city.

On Monday the city activated the 20 cameras permitted by Albany to fine motorists who exceed the speed limit by 11 mph or more in school zones. The 104th Precinct, where this crash occurred, issued 95 speeding tickets this year as of August.

At least three pedestrians, including a 7-year-old boy, have been killed by drivers in the 104th Precinct in the past year. To voice your concerns about neighborhood traffic safety directly to Captain Christopher M. Manson, the commanding officer, go to the next precinct community council meeting. The 104th Precinct council meetings happen at 7:30 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of the month. Call Detective Bell at 718-386-2431 for location information.

To encourage Council Member Crowley to take action to improve street safety in her district and citywide, contact her at 718-366-3900, or @ElizCrowleyNYC.