Cops arrest driver in fatal Bensonhurst crash that killed 4-year-old

The motorist who struck and killed a child while seriously injuring another near 67th Street and 20th Avenue on Jan. 4 was arrested and charged on Feb. 16.
File photo by Lloyd Mitchell

The driver who fatally struck a 4-year-old boy and left another child in critical condition after dropping them off at a Bensonhurst school last month has been arrested and charged, cops said Thursday.

Police say the motorist — now identified as 76-year-old Yehiel Guzi — drove the children to a yeshiva on 67th Street near 20th Avenue at around 9:18 am on Jan. 4, and let them out of the blue van before hitting the two children and driving away, apparently without noticing the crash.

Sources at the time said the man returned to the scene after the yeshiva contacted him.

“The driver claims he didn’t know a child was killed,” area Councilmember Mark Treyger told Brooklyn Paper following the incident. “This just doesn’t add up to me.”

First responders pronounced the younger child dead at the scene, while paramedics rushed the second 5-year-old victim for treatment at Maimonides Medical Center.

The children’s school, Yeshiva K’Tana of Bensonhurst, is located around the corner from PS 205 on 20th Avenue. Neither street has a reduced speed limit as part of a School Slow Zone, according to Department of Transportation records.

Guzi was arrested at around 8 am on Feb. 16 within the confines of the 62nd Precinct, where the fatal crash occurred. He has been charged with Criminally Negligent Homicide, Leaving the Scene of an Accident Resulting in Death, and Acting in a Manner Injurious to a Child Less Than 17 Years of Age.

The 4-year-old victim has since been identified as Yoshi Balaban, of Staten Island. The other child’s name has not been released.

Balaban was remembered as “a cute kid,” the Staten Island Advance reported. “Every parent would wish to have a child like that.”