NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The driver of a pickup truck is facing charges after police say he slammed into a mother and her toddler at an East Harlem intersection, killing the child.
Surveillance video shows the moments right before impact as the 25-year-old mother and her 3-year-old son, Bertin Dejesus, tried to cross the street in the crosswalk around 9:35 a.m. Monday.
CBS2’s Nick Caloway spoke with some witnesses who said the woman and her child had just left the Dunkin restaurant on the corner when they were hit.
“She was eating breakfast and everything and she said she was leaving. She said goodbye. She was crossing the street, the light was for her. As you cross the street, the car came and dragged her and the baby,” said witness Marisol Medina.
Police say the 59-year-old driver of the Ford F-250 pickup was turning from East 116th Street onto First Avenue. The mother was pushing her little boy in his stroller across the street when they were struck.
“It’s just seeing that child like that, it’s terrible,” Medina said.
“Everybody was stunned. Everyone didn’t know how to act. Everybody was in shock. Even the police,” witness Joseph Reyes said.
Witnesses said the driver of the truck — who has been identified as Jaime E. Sabogal, of Yonkers — initially started to drive away as if he didn’t know what happened. People had to flag him down and stop him.
According to witnesses, Sabogal was visibly upset once he realized what happened.
“He just started banging his head on the truck, and started crying, screaming,” witness Adrian Cruz said.
Countless witnesses called 911 and tried to help the boy before the ambulance got there.
“The baby was not breathing. I was on the phone with ambulance and they were telling could you check if the baby is breathing? And she would not let go of her child,” Medina said.
The boy was pronounced dead at Metropolitan Hospital.
His mother suffered minor injuries.
Police say Sabogal was released from custody with a ticket for driving without a valid license, failure to yield and failure to exercise due care.
Mayor Bill de Blasio responded to the incident on Twitter, saying, “This is a tragedy. The NYPD has taken the driver involved in this fatal crash into custody and a full investigation is underway. Please keep this young life cut short, his mother, his family and his loved ones in your thoughts today.”
A small memorial sat at the site of the crash Monday evening.
Community activist Awilda Cordero is assisting the little boy’s parents. Cordero says they have two other children.
“How could this guy be out the street driving and not worrying about people on the streets? … So I’m hoping he does some time because he just ruined a whole family,” Cordero told CBS2’s Valerie Castro.
CBS2 stopped by Sabogal’s home in Yonkers on Monday evening. A family member said they have no comment.