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Driver hits, kills 14-year-old bicyclist on Park Slope street

Struck dead: A driver struck and killed a 14-year-old boy riding his bike in Park Slope on Saturday night.
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A motorist struck and killed a 14-year-old boy as he rode his bike in Greenwood Heights on Nov. 25, 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 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.”

The motorist first tried to flee the scene after the collision, Popoca said, but the driver of another car maneuvered that vehicle to block him from leaving. The witness claimed that four people then spilled out of the cornered sedan, one of whom managed to escape on foot despite a crowd of 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 local 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.”

The beep 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 Nov. 27, 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,” he 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.
Updated 5:52 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

more and more from Brooklyn says:
We will see people die from the dreaded plight of bicycles onto the streets.

It's reckless and irresponsible and no one's more to blame than NYC. They knew they were putting people into harms way without any means of protection, and they did it anyway.

Sadly, NYC choose to do this in their efforts to over populate the city in their thirst to increase tax revenues. Bike paths were the cheapest alternative to costly transportation infrastructure.

So there you have it - folks/children dying for the NYC balance sheet!
Nov. 28, 2017, 10:28 am
Aaron B. from Greenwood Heights says:
I saw the vigil that was held last night on 5th Ave in front of the ConEd substation. Well over 100 folks from the community as well as the local Pols.

This is an ongoing issue on 5th Ave, where the bike lanes stop several blocks away. I'm not saying this would have been prevented by having a proper bike lane (though it may have), but I do know why I voted against the "sharrows" on 5th Ave when I was on CB7.

As an aside, too bad the BP decides to rename our neighborhood to suit itself depending on the story...
Nov. 28, 2017, 10:32 am
Allie from Park Slope says:
Cathy, you are an embarrassment to our neighborhood.
Nov. 28, 2017, 10:59 am
Lisa from Greenwood Heights says:
I am sickened and saddened by the comments on this story. A young man has been killed. Shame on you.
Nov. 29, 2017, 9:24 am
Jenn from Sunset Park says:
Greenwood heights?????? since when?... anyways its so sad to hear what happened to young man :( that's why I always wait for a car to come to full stop before crossing. cant trust everyone to be responsible and obey traffic and speeding rules smh, that's just the world we live in
Nov. 29, 2017, 12:39 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Although I do give my condolences to that kid, I doubt that speed cameras would have helped here. All those really do is just take a picture of the license plate so that the owner gets that fine, but that's just about it. Anything else, they are useless. Also, there have been reports that such cameras have created more accidents than prevented due to those having to slow down just to avoid getting a speeding ticket mailed to them. In other words, those would be seen more as just another revenue generator rather than making safety not to mention a boondoggle.
Nov. 29, 2017, 5:35 pm
Gary from Fort Greene says:
Never heard of Greenwood Heights. If it's a recently made up name for the area around the cemetery at 25th & 5th, you forgot the hyphen: Green-Wood.
Nov. 30, 2017, 1:22 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Hey Idiot from Pleasantville,
Where were "speed cameras" ever mentioned as a means to prevents anything in this article?
Nov. 30, 2017, 2:31 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Tyler, there is actually a paragraph that mentions speed cameras, but I still feel that they wouldn't have helped stop what happened because all they were designed to do was be revenue generators and nothing else, which shows who is really the idiot here, but that's what I can expect from an anti-car fanatic such as yourself.
Nov. 30, 2017, 5:26 pm
Tyler from pps says:
"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."

Where does it say anything there about speed cameras *preventing* this death?

It's pretty clearly stated as a source of evidence for this incident. And more speed cameras would provide more sources of evidence for other incidents.

(By the way, how did you know I was referring to you when I wrote "Idiot from Pleasantville"? Hope you're mom keeps the basement warm. This "anti-car fanatic" is going to drive his car home now. See ya!)
Nov. 30, 2017, 5:32 pm
NN from Boerum Hill says:
This is so sad. NYPD needs to do a better job of cracking down on reckless driving. And I agree with our borough president that we need more speed cameras to prevent tragedies like this.
Dec. 1, 2017, 1:16 pm
Guest from NYC says:
People are allowed to drive too fast on local streets. There really is no reason to because you need to wait at lights and stop signs, so you will never average more than 25 MPH no matter the trip.

We're just going to have to wait until collision avoidance is standard on just about every vehicle in a decade or so.
Dec. 1, 2017, 5:22 pm

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