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Driver hits, kills 14-year-old bicyclist

Struck dead: A driver struck and killed a 14-year-old boy riding his bike in Park Slope on Saturday night.
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A motorist struck and killed a 14-year-old boy as he rode his bike towards Sunset Park Saturday night, police said.

Edwin Ajacalon was crossing Fifth Avenue along 23rd Street at 6 pm, when the driver collided with him from behind the wheel of his grey sedan as he traveled along Fifth Avenue heading towards Sunset Park, according to police.

A surveillance camera mounted outside a Fifth Avenue eatery captured footage of the lethal impact, and shows the driver’s vehicle cruising at a high rate of speed before hitting and dragging the bicyclist down the block towards 24th Street.

Paramedics who arrived at the scene found the teen unconscious, and rushed him to Methodist Hospital on Seventh Avenue, where he was pronounced dead, cops said.

The force of the crash tore Ajacalon’s battery-powered bike in half, the scattered pieces of which were found strewn along the block between 23rd and 24th streets, along with the boy’s shoes and red hat.

The driver remained at the scene following the wreck, and police declined to press charges pending the results of an ongoing investigation, officials said.

An eye-witness who said she was working at a nearby eatery and saw the collision described the driver as rushing to make a changing traffic signal when he struck the boy.

“The kid was standing over there and ready to cross when the car sped up trying to make the light,” said Diana Popoca, who spoke through a translator. “The light was changing, so he sped up.”

The motorist tried to flee the scene afterwards, Popoca said, but the driver of another car maneuvered that vehicle to block him from getting away. The witness claimed that four people then spilled out of the cornered sedan, one of whom managed to escape the scene on foot despite a crowd of angry bystanders that detained the other three.

“When he tried to run there was some other car close by that drove in front of it, so he couldn’t run,” she said.

Ajacalon emigrated from Guatemala last year, and delivered food for a nearby restaurant to support his parents, who stayed in the Central American country when the boy moved to Brooklyn, according to his uncle, Estuardo Vicente.

The family is soliciting donations in order cover the cost of transporting the teen’s body to his parents’ village, according to an assistant for Borough President Adams.

“They just want to be able to send their son’s body back,” said Denise Felipe-Adams, who has worked with the family since Ajacalon’s death. “If there’s anything possible to help that, please extend yourselves to them.”

Adams rallied with other pols including councilmen Carlos Menchaca (D–Sunset Park) and Brad Lander (D–Park Slope), and state Sen. Jesse Hamilton (D–Prospect Lefferts Gardens), on Monday night, advocating installation of speed cameras throughout Brooklyn in the wake of the boy’s death.

“The police department is looking at cameras to make a determination if the operator of the vehicle was speeding,” the beep said. “That’s why we need more speed cameras in the city.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Posted 12:00 am, November 29, 2017
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Reader feedback

Susan Berkowitz from Sheepshead Bay says:
This was a tragedy. A hardworking young man was killed by a driver who sped through with no regard for others.

I am going off the subject but it should be noted that in Brighton Beach Hispanics were and continue to be blamed for crimes that have been committed by others. Since Hispanics are the minority in the community it's easy to blame others.
Nov. 29, 2017, 10:14 am
Noname says:
The driver of the car should pay for all expenses having no regard for human life by speeding to make a traffic light.
Nov. 29, 2017, 3:56 pm
Bob from Gerritsen Beach says:
Yes Susan, this certainly is a tragedy. You and Noname seem to miss the point of this tragedy. Have you asked yourself if the owner of this fast food restaurant trained this recent immigrant on the rules of the road regarding bicycle safety? Did he provide reflective clothing to this recent
immigrant to make him more noticeable at night? I don't know if you noticed the bike appears to be an electric bike capable of exceeding 20 miles per hour? a bike that requires somewhat more skill than a traditional bicycle. Add to this tragedy the unfortunate driver who now has to live with the death of this poor soul for the rest of his life all because of the Zeal this employer had for cheaper labor.
Nov. 29, 2017, 9:45 pm
Susan Berkowitz from Sheepshead Bay says:
Bob, according to the police that unfortunate driver was speeding through the intersection well past the 25 miles per hour rule in NYC. Also, according the police the victim was not exceeding 20 miles an hour. Also, how do you know what the victim was wearing at the time and what he was being paid for his labor?
G-D rest his soul.
Nov. 30, 2017, 9:15 am
Bob from Gerritsen Beach says:
Susan, how do I know what that child was wearing? How do I know how much he was making?
It's called life experience. I've been driving and riding a bicycle in the city for over 50 years. I also worked with these illegal for over 17 years. I seen these delivery boys outside my co-op window either ignoring the rules of the road or are unaware of them. in fact, right outside my building about eight years ago one of these unfortunate emigrants was killed wearing nothing but a black shirt and pants on a black scooter at night hit from behind. My son is a buildings inspector who can tell numerous stories of immigrants being hurt or killed in building reconstruction projects because they were unable to read the basics of warning signs of impending danger areas. I don't know where your experience lies on this matter? I'm assuming that you're a good person who just wants to be fair and compassionate. Unfortunately too many people are exploiting these kids and are not trained properly and these kids suffer because of it.
Nov. 30, 2017, 11:38 am
—— bob from Park slope says:
Bob this is 100 percent the drivers fault little man. Yeah the kid might have broken the law but he can't kill someone while being on his bike. On the other hand, a car has enough force to kill. You shouldn't speed especially in the crowded streets of Brooklyn or Manhattan. Another thing, this kid was being exploited for cheap labor, unlike you he came into a country as a child and had various jobs just to help out his family. Do you not understand that? All this kid knew how to do was work. Don't you think he was tired and would rather be out meeting people and going to school? Be a little smarter and less actually apply knowledge to this situation.
Dec. 3, 2017, 8:57 pm
Susan Berkowitz from Sheepshead Bay says:
To Bob from Park Slope,

Thank you for your remarks. You are a "mensch"- the Hebrew word for a decent person... you are absolutely correct.
Dec. 4, 2017, 11:03 am

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