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Queens Chronicle

Boy killed by dump truck in Queens

Vigil held for victim at intersection

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Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 11:35 am, Thu Jan 10, 2013.

Family members, friends and politicians gathered Sunday night at the Jackson Heights intersection where a dump truck hit and killed Miguel Torres, 11.

Torres’ mother fell in front of a memorial to the child moaning in Spanish, “My only son. Why God, why?”

Family members over the weekend placed a Sprite and a package of Pop-Tarts, the purchases Torres made at a deli before his death, along with candles and pictures at Northern Boulevard and 80th Street.

Torres was crossing the intersection at the cross walk at about 8:45 a.m. Friday when he was struck by the rear wheels of a 1988 white dump truck.

The truck continued driving down Northern Boulevard, but was later stopped by police. No criminality was found, NYPD said.

“I was the first one out here,” resident Olga Gonzalez said on Friday shortly after the accident. “I saw the boy already dead. I saw his little hand.”

About two dozen police cars shut down the westward-bound lane of the boulevard between 80th and 79th streets for about 12 hours following the accident.

Torres was purchasing a snack before heading to IS 145, Joseph Pulitzer School, where he attended a school-sponsored program during the winter break.

At Sunday night’s vigil Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) lead a prayer in Spanish. Assemblyman Michael DenDekker (D-Jackson Heights), who lost his stepdaughter earlier this year, said he could relate to the boy’s mother. State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) also offered his condolences on Sunday night.

Peralta said the boy’s body will be taken to Mexico for a funeral.

“The whole community is suffering along with you,” Dromm said. “This is a terrible, terrible tragedy.”

Rev. Anthony Chanan of St. Joan of Arc parish led the about 60 mourners in a gospel prayer.

After the ceremony a woman with a stroller approached Dromm about the safety hazards on the boulevard.

“Northern Boulevard is the new ‘boulevard of death,’” Dromm said referring to Queens Boulevard’s nickname. “We have done some measures, but we need to do more.”

About eight months ago, the councilman asked the Department of Transportation to install a slow zone, which lowers the speed of the roadway to 20 miles per hour, north of Northern Boulevard from 32nd Avenue to 25th Avenue.

The DOT said it would install the zone on 25th Avenue from about 69th Street to 80th Street, Dromm said. However, he would like to see the whole area receive the special designation.

DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan will visit some of the problem intersections in Jackson Heights with Dromm next week.

“I sometimes run across other streets, but not Northern Boulevard,” resident Jane Biernacki said on Friday. “I feel bad for his [Torres’] mother.”

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