NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A driver of a stolen minivan lost control Wednesday and struck a mother and two children on a sidewalk in Flatlands, Brooklyn, killing one of the girls, police said.
As CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported, police and witnesses said the driver fled the scene on foot after the accident.
The accident happened around 4:45 p.m. Wednesday at Flatlands Avenue and 46th Street in Brooklyn, police said. The driver of an allegedly stolen Dodge Caravan lost control just past Schenectady Avenue, jumped the sidewalk, and hit the the 38-year-old mother and two girls — ages 9 and 12 — who were waiting at a bus stop, police said.
Witnesses said the driver of the minivan to flip.
“He took the turn and the car flipped because he hit the hydrant, and the impact caused the van to flip, and it just landed on these little girls,” said witness Jason Harricharan.
A witness photo showed neighbors running to the scene to try to get the victims out from under the van.
“There was one actually under, and we lifted it up,” said witness Shamar Brooks, adding that the two girls were “shaking, like hemorrhaging, and it was kind of like, scary.”
Kareem Johnson told 1010 WINS’ Holli Haerr he saw two girls underneath the van, and he and others were the ones who decided to try to lift the vehicle in an attempt to help them. He then saw a third victim.
“While we were moving the car, we started lifting the car over that’s when we realized another female was underneath the car,” he said. “They can’t give up until they catch this guy.”
The 12-year-old girl later died, police said. She was identified as Joey Sellers.
The driver fled on foot, police said. The van remained at the scene for hours afterward, with its passenger-side wheels off the ground and perched partially aloft by a fire hydrant underneath.
Two girls’ backpacks lay on the ground next to the vehicle.
The vehicle had been reported stolen in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, on June 28, police said.
Witnesses said they were shocked to see the man get out of the vehicle injured and limping, then flee the scene.
“As I was running to the vehicle I saw the dude get out of the car, started walking, then he took of at a fast pace and started running,” said Harricharan.
The victims were initially reported in critical condition at Kings County Hospital Center in very critical condition, and Joey later died there, police said.
Akealiah Nathan, a U.S. postal worker, said she was angry and shocked that someone would hurt the little girls and run away. She said she has children of the same age herself.
“These little kids were innocent kids standing at the bus stop, and it’s just so sad,” she said. “We all tried to take the car off the heads. There were just a lot of people here just trying to help. This guy should be put in jail. He really should.”
Police described the suspect as a dark-haired, slender man about 5 feet 7 inches tall, with a light complexion. He was last seen wearing a light polo-style shirt with a collar and dark pants.
The NYPD Highway Collision Squad was investigating late Wednesday. The wrecked van was towed away around 11 p.m. Wednesday night.
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