KINGS PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A 10-year-old boy was hit by an SUV as he was trying to get to his school bus on Long Island on Friday morning.
Witness Denise Sweeney said the bus was stopped at the intersection of First and Carlson avenues in Kings Park with its red lights flashing and stop signs out, but a driver in an SUV did not stop and hit Ian Palencia-Mendoza, a sixth-grader, as he was crossing the street.
“He was doing over the speed limit,” Sweeney said. “I think he was doing about 40. That’s my opinion. And he hit the boy head-on. And the little boy hit the side of the bus and bounced right off, landed on the ground, and I ran to him.”
“My bus driver … she was honking her horn at the guy to stop,” 11-year-old Kevin Cooper, who was on the bus, told CBS2’s Valerie Castro. “He didn’t stop. He hit the stop sign of the bus, and he hit the kid, my friend.”
Sweeney comforted Ian, a student at William T. Rogers Middle School, and called his mother before he was airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital with a broken leg and head injuries, WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported.
“He was shaking, and I didn’t want him to move,” Sweeney said. “I knew that he had broken his leg, the way it was positioned, and he was bleeding in his mouth. I knew something was wrong. I knew he might’ve had internal injuries.”
The driver, Pasquale Izzo, 81, remained at the scene and was taken in for questioning.
Izzo has not been charged. Police said they are still investigating.
Sweeney said the driver told her he did not see the bus.
Ian’s injuries are serious, but not life-threatening. His sister said he will need metal plates in his leg.
“All I know is his leg is broken definitely,” said Jessica Palencia-Mendoza. “His femur is torn up. He’s going to need emergency surgery by tonight if he ever wants to walk again.”
She said he is heartbroken that he won’t be able to play football this year.
“Unfortunately, this incident is a terrible reminder that we cannot always assume that motorists will follow traffic safety rules at all times,” said Superintendent of Schools Timothy Eagen. “The safety and well-being of our students is our top priority. Effective immediately, the bus has been rerouted in an effort to try to reduce any potential future tragic accidents at this location and so that the student struck by the car and the students that witnessed the accident don’t have to return to the scene of this unfortunate incident. ”
The family and neighbors say they’ve complained for years that the bus stop is dangerous. Schoolchildren must board from across the street because there is no sidewalk where the bus stops.
“The bus stop is a bad spot,” said parent Desiree Quinn. “There’s no crossing guard (or) stop signs. They make the kids stop there, people don’t listen, and a kid got hit, who’s my kid’s friend.”