A 9-year-old Ozone Park boy was killed Tuesday afternoon when he was struck by the campaign vehicle used by a City Council candidate at the corner of Cross Bay and Rockaway Boulevards, police said.
Ibrihim Ahmed was running west on Cross Bay Boulevard to get to the other side of the street around 3:30 p.m. when a black RV advertising Mike Ricatto’s campaign for the 32nd Council District hit him as it was heading north, according to police.
Ray Sierra, 19, who was at the corner of Liberty Avenue and Cross Bay Boulevard when the accident occurred, said he saw the vehicle trying to beat a yellow light as the boy rushed to cross nearly a dozen lanes.
“The kid had a chance to make it, but the bus cut him [off],” he said.
Police said Ibrihim suffered a serious head wound and was declared dead at the scene by EMS. Although the driver of the RV — Alexander Aponte, 22, of Manhattan — stayed at the scene of accident, he was arrested after the authorities found he had a suspended license, according to a police spokeswoman. Additional charges were pending as of press time Tuesday night.
Police said Ibrihim lived at 106-07 79th Ave. with his family, but a person living at that address declined to comment. A man who said he was Ibrihim’s cousin came to the scene after the medical examiner’s office took the body away.
“He was a good boy,” he said before leaving the intersection.
Ricatto, 52 who is running in a special election next month for the seat vacated by state Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach), released a statement later in the evening expressing his condolences and announced he would suspend his campaign until further notice.
“My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the child whose life was taken in this tragic accident. I have children of my own and can’t imagine the pain of losing a child in an accident like the one that occurred today,” he said.
Officers searched the inside of the RV while they were surveying the crime scene for several hours.
“When I saw the truck sitting there, I thought it just stopped [in front of the boy.] I looked and saw the kid on the floor, and I was shocked” said Michael Tota, 18, who witnessed the accident.
Several residents who live and work near the intersection said it is very dangerous for both pedestrians and motorists. Mariah Guadagno, 12, who saw the boy hit, said she had seen several accidents before due to reckless drivers and walkers trying to beat the lights.
“This area is so accident prone,” she said.
A traffic camera is installed on the second lane of Cross Bay Boulevard, but it was not known what was videotaped during the accident, police said.
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.