Shocked Hempstead Neighborhood Still Trying To Make Sense Of Tragic Bus Crash
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Police are now saying a tragic bus accident that left a little boy dead appears to have been just a freak accident.
Chopper 2 HD was over the scene late Wednesday afternoon where the home was boarded up, looking completely different than at the same time on Tuesday.
It’s the same home where police said the driver of a bus swerved to avoid a pedestrian and ended up crashing into a child’s bedroom, killing him while he lay on the floor.
The boy’s brother, who was also in the room, miraculously made it out alive.
1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reports
The crash happened around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. Investigators said the bus was approaching the intersection of Fulton Avenue and Nassau Place when the driver saw a pedestrian in the roadway.
The 50-year-old veteran driver is not expected to be charged. Detectives said he beeped his horn and flashed his lights but the 35-year-old pedestrian — identified as Manuel Rivas-Lopez — seemed dazed.
“[The driver] blows his horn three times as a warning. The pedestrian keeps walking toward the moving bus, that is traveling at the proper rate of speed with a green light,” Nassau County Police Inspector Kenneth Lack said.
WCBS 880′s Sophia Hall: No Charges Against The Driver
As the driver swerved to avoid hitting the pedestrian, the bus jumped a curb and then hit the home where 6-year-old David Granados and his 7-year-old brother, Josua, were sleeping in a front bedroom.
“I heard a big sound. It was a big noise. It was crashed and I was trying to yell, trying to yell. Someone broke the window and that’s how I got out,” Josua told CBS 2′s Carolyn Gusoff on Wednesday night.
“[The bus] fell on my brother. He fell down, he got squished by the bus. He tried to get out, I tried to pull him myself,” Josua added. “I was going to my mom and asking her, ‘where’s my brother?’ He was stuck in there. I know the bus crashed on him.”
Earlier, CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan heard from the boys’ parents, whose lives are forever changed.
“I saw the bus coming and couldn’t believe it,” said a sobbing Maribel Molina, the young boy’s mother.
The distraught mother and father of the little boys described how they pulled the 7-year-old out from the rubble, but their 6-year-old was trapped and crushed by the bus.
“I opened the window and I pick up the son. David died because he was on the floor, the bus coming through another door,” father Santos Herrera said.
“They were asleep in the bed and the bus came in,” said Alida Gutierrez, who also lives in the home. She said the bus narrowly missed hitting her little girl.
Both brothers were taken to Winthrop Hospital where the 6-year-old was pronounced dead. The 7-year-old sustained injuries to his arms, police said.
The child’s landlord, Leo Diliberti, was overcome by the tragedy. The entire neighborhood was left stunned by the death of a 6-year-old many said was filled with sparkle and love.
“My emotions … it’s hard to say… it’s tragic,” Diliberti said.
“Just an innocent child who doesn’t know anything in life, way undeserving to have that happen to him,” property manager Matt Esposito added.
Neighbors, though saddened, were not surprised by the details. They said there’s a cross-walk nearby, but many people don’t use it.
“They don’t think, they just flash across,” said neighbor Maria Bonilla. “They shouldn’t do that, especially at night.”
David and Josua attended Jackson Street School together, where classmates were learning of the accident from counselors.
Tenants of the building who survived the bus crash returned Wednesday to pick up their belongings as the police investigation moved into full swing.
WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs reports
The bus is operated by Nassau Inter-County Express or NICE. Eleven passengers were on board at the time of the crash. Police said eight were taken to local hospitals for minor injuries and have since been released.
“Preliminarily, alcohol, drugs and speed do not appear to be a factor regarding the driver of the NICE bus,” Inspector Lack said.
NICE has launched its own investigation.
The bus was impounded for brake and safety checks.
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