Driver hits, kills 14-year-old bicyclist

Struck dead: A driver struck and killed a 14-year-old boy riding his bike in Park Slope on Saturday night.
Photo by Paul Martinka

A motorist struck and killed a 14-year-old boy as he rode his bike towards Sunset Park Saturday night, police said.

Edwin Ajacalon was crossing Fifth Avenue along 23rd Street at 6 pm, when the driver collided with him from behind the wheel of his grey sedan as he traveled along Fifth Avenue heading towards Sunset Park, according to police.

A surveillance camera mounted outside a Fifth Avenue eatery captured footage of the lethal impact, and shows the driver’s vehicle cruising at a high rate of speed before hitting and dragging the bicyclist down the block towards 24th Street.

Paramedics who arrived at the scene found the teen unconscious, and rushed him to Methodist Hospital on Seventh Avenue, where he was pronounced dead, cops said.

The force of the crash tore Ajacalon’s battery-powered bike in half, the scattered pieces of which were found strewn along the block between 23rd and 24th streets, along with the boy’s shoes and red hat.

The driver remained at the scene following the wreck, and police declined to press charges pending the results of an ongoing investigation, officials said.

An eye-witness who said she was working at a nearby eatery and saw the collision described the driver as rushing to make a changing traffic signal when he struck the boy.

“The kid was standing over there and ready to cross when the car sped up trying to make the light,” said Diana Popoca, who spoke through a translator. “The light was changing, so he sped up.”

Sheer force: The collision that claimed the life of a 14-year-old boy in Park Slope tore his battery-powered bike in half.
Photo by Paul Martinka

The motorist tried to flee the scene afterwards, Popoca said, but the driver of another car maneuvered that vehicle to block him from getting away. The witness claimed that four people then spilled out of the cornered sedan, one of whom managed to escape the scene on foot despite a crowd of angry bystanders that detained the other three.

“When he tried to run there was some other car close by that drove in front of it, so he couldn’t run,” she said.

Ajacalon emigrated from Guatemala last year, and delivered food for a nearby restaurant to support his parents, who stayed in the Central American country when the boy moved to Brooklyn, according to his uncle, Estuardo Vicente.

The family is soliciting donations in order cover the cost of transporting the teen’s body to his parents’ village, according to an assistant for Borough President Adams.

“They just want to be able to send their son’s body back,” said Denise Felipe-Adams, who has worked with the family since Ajacalon’s death. “If there’s anything possible to help that, please extend yourselves to them.”

Adams rallied with other pols including councilmen Carlos Menchaca (D–Sunset Park) and Brad Lander (D–Park Slope), and state Sen. Jesse Hamilton (D–Prospect Lefferts Gardens), on Monday night, advocating installation of speed cameras throughout Brooklyn in the wake of the boy’s death.

“The police department is looking at cameras to make a determination if the operator of the vehicle was speeding,” the beep said. “That’s why we need more speed cameras in the city.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Wait and see: The motorist who struck and killed a 14-year-old bicyclist from behind the wheel of his 2017 German import was allowed to walk free Saturday night, but may face charges pending the results of an ongoing investigation.
Photo by Paul Martinka

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