An accident in Brooklyn on Monday claimed the life of a four-year-old boy and critically injured a six-year-old. The boy, who has been identified as Yoshi Balaban of Staten Island, was pronounced dead after being rushed to the hospital. The other boy, who has not been publicly identified, has been described as being in critical but stable condition.
The incident, which occurred just after 9:00 AM on Monday, appears to have been accidental. The driver, 76, has not been publicly identified. Earlier reports indicated he fled the scene after striking the boys with the van before returning to the scene later. It is unclear if he was aware he had struck the children when he first left the area.
The Accident Occurred in Broad Daylight
The accident occurred after the van’s driver dropped the two boys off at the Yeshiva Ketana of Bensonhurst on Monday morning. There appears to have been no malice, police found, as the incident would appear to have been strictly accidental.
Both boys were found lying in the street between 20th and 21st Avenues, on 67th Street. The horrific scene startled nearby people, and the boys were rushed to Maimonides Medical Center. The younger boy, Yoshi Balaban, was pronounced dead at the hospital. The other boy, despite arriving in critical condition, is expected to survive.
Reckless Driving Spikes Amidst Pandemic
“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,” New York State Senator Andrew Gounardes said of the accident. “Our fight for street safety is far from over. Given the reckless driving during the pandemic, it is more urgent than ever.”
The incident occurred even as pedestrian deaths in New York in 2020 were lower than the yearly average. However, officials are quick to note this is simply because there are fewer people walking on the streets than usual due to the pandemic. This, in turn, could be leading to an increase in reckless driving among people in large cities.
Since there are so few other cars or pedestrians on the streets, the people that are driving may be acting more recklessly. Indeed, traffic fatalities in major metropolitan areas were higher than average in 2020. As such, parents are warned to keep a close eye on their children when near the road or when crossing the street. All it takes is a moment of distraction for a driver to cause a tragedy from which a family could never recover.