A student injured when an SUV jumped the curb in Maspeth last week has died, education officials confirmed.
Michael Gomez, 13, died at Elmhurst Hospital on Sunday, September 15 of an asthma attack, according to reports.
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott reached out to his family and the principal of I.S. 73 to express his condolences and grief counselors were dispatched to the school to talk with students and teachers.
Gomez received cuts and bruises when the silver Honda Pilot slammed into him and four other students of nearby I.S. 73 in front a deli on Thursday, September 12. Gomez was brought to Elmhurst Hospital, but released the next day.
Two other students injured in the accident are still recovering in Elmhurst Hospital and another in New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan.
When the SUV hit the students, one girl was trapped underneath the vehicle, witnesses said. Good Samaritans rushed to help, and a half-dozen men lifted the car, while a resident pulled the girl out.
“I was so overwhelmed. I’m still in shock,” said Candice Cruz, who lives above the deli. When the car hit the students, she hurried to help and pulled the girl out from under. “Seeing the little body under there and the little girl trying to breathe, it was horrible.”
The driver of the car was trying to park in a spot in front the deli, but pressed on the gas pedal too hard, according to authorities.
Video surveillance from the deli corroborates this. Police did not charge the driver with a crime, although the investigation is ongoing, cops said.
The corner is usually filled with many children in the morning during school time, and many students go into the store to get breakfast, said Julio Lopez, who works at the deli.
“I just [stepped off] the sidewalk because my friend called me,” said Weiss Safdary, a 10th grader at Grover Cleveland High School. “I would have been under there too.”
Grand Avenue is a busy, narrow commercial strip with many trucks, buses and cars. Besides I.S. 73, about a block from the scene are P.S. 58 and Maspeth High School.
Residents have been highlighting the need for safety measures such as more signs to protect students.
“Maybe they should put something on the sidewalk,” said Carl Panganbian, 10th grader. “It’s for student safety, because you never know when [an accident] is going to happen.”
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