A seven-year-old boy has been killed in a fatal accident in Queens, New York, which pinned him between a van and his school bus, just moments after he got off school on April 17.
Cameron Brown, who has been described by his aunt as a straight-A student who always smiles, was making his way from the yellow school bus to the red van with his sister Paris, 9, when he was struck by the van at about 3:15 p.m. local time.
The force from the van pinned him against the school bus, and he was rushed to Saint John’s Episcopal Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The van driver remained at the scene.
A 7-year-old boy who was fatally pinned between a van and a school bus was a straight-A student who was always smiling, his aunt said https://t.co/u7Bwlzrsmy
— NBC New York (@NBCNewYork) April 19, 2019
Eyewitness Jean Ulysses told CBS2 that when the van was trying to reverse, it accelerated instead, hitting Brown.
“The van was trying to back up. Instead of backing up, it goes forward. That’s when he hit the boy between the van and the bus,” Ulysses said.
The driver of the red van, 22, appeared not to see the boy, according to police, reported CBS2.
Surveillance footage of the incident shows the van behind the school bus as it pulls up.
Brown and his sister had been taking the red van hired through a private bus company by his aunt, Maureen Brown, to get to and from school.
Authorities say the child, identified as Cameron Brown, had just gotten off his bus and was crossing behind it when he was hit. https://t.co/4dTdX8HaOV
— ABC 7 Chicago (@ABC7Chicago) April 18, 2019
The pair had been transfering from the red van and onto the yellow school bus in recent weeks, his aunt told NBC New York.
It was when the siblings were on their way to make the transfer from the school bus to the van that the tragedy struck.
The seven-year-old has just crossed in front of the vehicle when the driver accelerated, police said on April 18.
His older sister was told to wait at the back of the school bus while waiting for family to arrive.
“All I saw was his feet,” she said.
Passerby Keith Williams, who witnessed the tragic accident, was left devastated.
“I had to walk away with tears, I was crying also, to see a poor little kid there.
“He still had his school bag–backpack–on him, and he was on his stomach, and they were giving him CPR,” he told CBS2.
The boy’s aunt said she had been looking into alternative transportation as she and family members weren’t happy about Brown and his sister transfering from one vehicle to another.
“I tried to switch buses, and I feel like I failed him, because I didn’t [switch] fast enough,” she told NBC New York.
“He’s like a breath of fresh air. I can’t even explain. He’s just a good, humble kid,” she added.
Brown, nicknamed “Nino,” had been living with relatives along with his four siblings after their mother, Lisa Bennett, was deported to Jamaica two years ago, Daily News reported.
“Nino was so smart. He wanted to know everything. He was spelling from the moment he could talk. I already knew who was the man of the family,” his eldest sister, 19-year-old Fantasia said.
“He was good at math, he was on the honor roll. He was on top of everything.”
His family described the staff on board the school bus as careless, adding that they should have done more to ensure his safety once he got off the bus.
“They were supposed to protect him. There should have been someone to transfer him from the bus to the van,” the boy’s father, Joseph Brown, 66, told Daily News.
Richard A. Carranza, Schools Chancellor at P.S. 43, where Brown studied, said in a statement, “I’m heartbroken by this tragic loss of one of our children, and share my condolences with the family and school community.
Oliver the Owl is making his way around the school! pic.twitter.com/iT1HJNDVGi
— P.S. 43 Jonas Bronck Elementary School (@PS43x) October 31, 2018
“We will have crisis counseling available to students and staff for as long as it is needed.”
It is uncertain whether Brown’s mother will be allowed to return to New York for his funeral, his aunt said, adding that she hopes everyone involved in the accident will have charges filed against them.