From Long Island Newsday, June 23:

Boy on a bike is killed
An 11-year-old Wyandanch boy was killed Friday when he biked into the path of a tractor-trailer, which then struck an oncoming minivan, critically injuring two children, police said.

Dairon Williams was riding an adult 10-speed bicycle he received as a fifth-grade graduation present when the accident occurred on Long Island Avenue at South 27th Street in Wyandanch.

The two children in the minivan, James Lefevre, 5, and Melissa Valtrin, 6, were in critical condition Friday night, police said.

Their mother, Marie Lefevre, 33, of Wyandanch, was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries. Melissa was also at Good Samaritan with internal injuries. James, who suffered head trauma and internal injuries, was transferred to Stony Brook University Medical Center, police said.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, Agop Culu, 39, of Fairview, N.J., who was not hospitalized, will not face any charges, police said.

Efforts to reach the Lefevre family or the driver were unsuccessful.

Dairon’s best friend, Elijah Aponte, 9, of Wyandanch, who was riding with him at the time of the accident, said the bike’s brakes were broken. Police were unable to confirm that Friday night.

“Me and Daddy didn’t want him riding the bike,” Dairon’s mother, Lisa Williams, said of the used red 1980s bicycle, a gift from a relative a week and a half ago. “We were going to get him a new bike for graduation.”

Police said Culu was driving east on Long Island Avenue when Dairon tried to cross north on the two-lane road. To avoid him, Culu swerved across the center line but hit the boy and then Lefevre’s 2004 Ford minivan, traveling west, Det. Lt. James Maher said.

Maher said it was unclear how fast Culu was driving, or whether the paper product load he was hauling played a role. Both the tractor-trailer, a 2004 Freightliner registered to Logistic Providers of America of Carlstadt, N.J., and the minivan have been impounded.

Long Island Avenue residents said cars often drive too fast on the road. “It’s a speedway,” said Lynette Matthews. “This is a problem waiting to happen.”

After the 2:50 p.m. accident, Elijah rushed the four blocks from the scene to Williams’ house to tell her, and she went to the scene to find emergency responders futilely performing CPR on Dairon.

“He was like my best friend,” she said of her son, who graduated Tuesday from Martin Luther King Elementary School in Wyandanch.

Dairon stuck so close to her friends said he was her bodyguard, said Williams, a homemaker. “He was the best kid,” who helped neighbors with groceries, loved his PlayStation 2 games, and wanted to be an auto mechanic someday, she said. “I’m proud of myself because I did a good job raising him.”

See more reasons WHY WE FIGHT, and our last post on the global plague of car culture.