In a tragic string of New York auto accidents, 4 young children have been struck and killed by cars in the Five Burroughs within the last month. The latest accident claimed the life of 2-year old Jahir Figueroa. Jahir was crossing the Junction Boulevard in Queens on Friday, October 11th with his mother, 23, when a drunk driver failed to yield and struck the young child, killing him.
35-year old Gilbert Echeverria, the driver of the SUV that struck the boy, took the child and his mother to Booth Memorial Hospital, where the child was pronounced dead. Police arrested him at the hospital, suspecting that he was under the influence of some substance. Testing revealed a blood alcohol level higher than the legal limit and the next day formal charges were filed. Echeverria is facing manslaughter charges in addition to criminally negligent homicide, and driving while intoxicated. Echeverria has a prior criminal record for multiple marijuana arrests.
This accident eerily echoes one just a week prior: a young child, out for a walk with a trusted loved one, struck by inattentive drivers in large SUVs. Witness reported seeing the boy slip from his mother's grasp seconds before being hit. He was forced under the vehicle and suffered head trauma.
While the overall number of traffic fatalities has dropped slightly in recent years, children under 12-years old are disproportionately represented in the injuries and fatalities suffered in New York pedestrian accidents involving motor vehicles. Statistically, the late afternoon and early evening hours are the most dangerous as are collisions with SUVs and light trucks.
In a coincidence that hasn't gone unnoticed, city officials announced earlier this week that they would expanding the so-called slow zones in order to increase overall traffic safety in a total of 15 neighborhoods across New York City. However, speed is rarely the causal factor of such fatal accidents. Indeed, earlier this month a young child was struck by a police van driven by a distracted driver who was reportedly seen using her cellphone immediately before the accident.
Regardless of the root cause of the tragic fatal auto accidents involving children, the families will be forced to deal with the unpleasant realities: financial, emotional, and psychological for years to come. While counseling and time can help to heal the wounds of the mind and heart, only an expert New York auto accident attorney can secure the financial compensation to which the victim's family is entitled.
If you or a loved one has been involved in any kind of motor vehicle accident, call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel at (800) 734-9338 or (212) 385-1122 for a free consultation to learn your rights.