A tragic accident in Brooklyn on Monday left a four-year-old boy dead after a van struck him in the road. Another boy, aged six, was critically injured in the accident as well.
The accident occurred after the van had dropped the children off at the Yeshiva Ketana of Bensonhurst. The driver, 76, has not been publicly named and has not been charged with any crimes at the time of this writing.
After initially hitting the boys with the vehicle, the driver sped away from the scene before later returning. It’s unclear whether the driver was aware that he had hit the children at first. New York authorities have stated that an investigation into the incident is ongoing. It is unclear whether the man will face charges, though it appears that the incident was accidental, not a deliberate act of malice.
The boy who was killed in the accident was identified by authorities as Yoshi Balaban, a 4-year-old from Staten Island. The other boy, who was critically injured, was not publicly identified. Police did confirm, however, that the older boy was also from Staten Island. Both boys were found lying in the street after being struck shortly after 9:15 AM.
They were found on 67th Street, between 20th and 21st Avenues. After both were rushed to the hospital, the younger boy was pronounced dead. The older boy was described as being in critical but stable condition, and he is expected to make a full recovery.
The accident has been described by some media outlets as underscoring the ongoing trend of surging reckless driving during the pandemic. On the whole, pedestrian traffic deaths are down since last year. However, this is likely due to how little foot traffic is on the streets in cities in the midst of the pandemic. At the same time, traffic accidents have become more common, with some 243 people dying in car accidents in New York in 2020.
Many experts have pointed to a combination of factors leading to more reckless driving. People are indoors more often, so they are often more frustrated and reckless when on the roads. For another thing, drivers are encountering far fewer other drivers, leading them to drive in a much looser, irresponsible manner.
“When parents cannot even have confidence that their children will be safe from being hit by a car, we are failing to keep New Yorkers safe,” State Senator Andrew Gounardes stated after the accident.