From New York Newsday:
Toddler killed by SUV
Girl, 3, pushed in stroller by her mother, is run down by driver entering crowded Harlem gas station
BY MARLENE NAANES AND LUIS PEREZ
September 2, 2005
A 3-year-old girl being pushed along in a stroller in East Harlem was killed yesterday after a sport utility vehicle heading into a busy gas station ran her over, police and witnesses said.
A long line of motorists jammed a BP/Amoco station at East 125th Street and Second Avenue as Iris Gonzalez, 28, and her toddler, Jamie Roman, passed on the sidewalk at about 5:30 p.m., police and a relative said.
Two sport utility vehicles – one idling on a street ramp trying to get into the gas station, another trying to get off the corner lot – blocked their path, police and witnesses said.
The driver of the SUV heading into the gas station lunged forward, dragging the carriage under it before it barreled into a minivan waiting behind the pump, police and a witness said.
“They hit her like a sandwich into the van,” said Franklin Mercedes, 39, a radio DJ.
Mercedes whipped out a video camera, and recorded the driver pulling back from the wreckage before accelerating into a parked yellow cab.
The child was rushed to Harlem Hospital Center, where she was pronounced dead at 6:10, police said. Gonzalez was treated at the hospital for shock.
Mercedes said the child’s mother, who was not injured, rushed toward him, and sat down with her only child in her arms.
“When I saw her face, it didn’t look to me like she was breathing,” he said.
“Why didn’t this happen to me? Why did this happen to my baby? I want to die,” Gonzalez was heard screaming at the scene, holding the girl in her lap. Nearby, the child’s baby doll lay covered in blood. The driver of the car did not leave the scene and was being questioned by police. No charges had been filed last night.
The driver’s husband, Eric Salgado, said the driver of the other SUV, which fled after the incident, honked repeatedly at his wife.
“She got out to call 911 right away,” Salgado said of his wife.
The driver of the minivan that was rear-ended, Larry Spriggs, said the mood at the station, where regular gas went for $2.99, was tense.
“It was frantic,” said Spriggs, a construction worker. “Everybody was waiting, moving slowly. Nobody had patience.”
Richie Perez, 27, a relative, said Gonzalez was headed to her mother’s house a few blocks away.
He said Gonzalez was too distraught to speak to him at the hospital.
“She couldn’t explain to me what happened,” he said. “She said she wants to be with her daughter.”
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