As she sits by his bedside in Kings County Hospital and looks upon his still unconscious form, Vanessa Summers can’t believe what the police are saying: Her 12-year-old son Xavier ran into Mill Basin traffic without being pushed, chased or prodded.
“I taught my son better than that,” she said. “He’s five-foot-five…it’s not like he’s six years old. He was not darting in between cars for no reason.”
By late Monday — a week after he was rushed to the hospital — Xavier, age 12, was still in critical yet stable condition, Vanessa said. While she’s being told that her son’s injuries were the result of a simple accident, she can’t wrap her brain around the fact that two independent sources have come forward telling her that two boys were seen “kicking and punching” her son before he ran into the street and was hit by a 2008 Nissan Pathfinder on Avenue N near East 51st Street.
Summers blames the roughhousing that occurs on Avenue N as students from nearby Roy H. Mann Junior High School leave for the day.
Summers said that she always taught her son, an avid basketball player who used to attend a karate school on Avenue N, to take Avenue L as he made his way home. But last Monday, he came home along Avenue N, right around the time Mann students were filtering toward the bus stops near Utica Avenue.
Vanessa believes that Xavier was attacked as Roy H. Mann students brawled near the corner.
Yet police tell a different story.
After reviewing surveillance tapes in the area, they determined that Xavier was neither pushed, chased nor forced into traffic.
Cops admitted that there was a fight and a robbery between two young teens near the corner at around the same moment that Xavier was hit. An arrest in the robbery took place the next day, explained Captain Patricia MacDonald, the 63rd Precinct’s executive officer.
“It happened right over there,” she said, adding that the 14-year-old suspect wasn’t arrested for doing anything against Xavier, but for “a different incident during the same time frame.”
Police sources said that investigators interviewed two young girls with Xavier at the time of the accident. Both back the video saying that he wasn’t chased into the street.
“The way we understand it, he saw the kids fighting and he wanted to leave before it became a problem,” the source said. “He didn’t want to get into trouble.”
When he stepped off the curb, he was struck by the truck’s mirror and fell, hitting his head.
MacDonald said that her officers continually monitor the Avenue N corridor to make sure that the children leave the school in an orderly fashion. Activity like this is a rarity, she explained.
“We always have cars right there and Ralph Avenue,” she said, adding that she and Inspector Frank Cangiarella are in constant contact with Roy H. Mann administrators regarding their dismissal. “At that particular time, there’s always a patrol car on Avenue N.”
Historically, dismissal time on Avenue N has become the bane of existence for local shopkeepers, some of whom have taken the extra step of locking their doors after 3 p.m.
“Right now because the kids are off, it’s calm as hell,” said an Avenue N realty employee. “But when school is in session, it can get very rowdy. Dozens of kids, not just groups of one or two, but 10 and 15, can be seen coming down the block. Some even bang on the windows.”
Things can get so bad that a local pizza shop refuses to allow kids from Roy H. Mann into his restaurant, fearing that they will scare the adult customers away, this paper was told.
Vanessa believes that this raucous environment played a role in her son’s accident. Since Roy H. Mann is off for President’s Week, calls on this subject were not returned.
“Maybe the angle of the cameras didn’t show his attackers,” she said. “But the police are acting as if this is just par for the course, that kids act this way and this is all some tragic accident and that’s not right.”
She hopes to get some legal counsel to advise her on what action to take next.
But first, she must keep close to her son’s hospital room.
“I want him to open his eyes and know that his mother has been by his side,” she said.