A horrific crash in Pelham Bay claimed the life of a seven-year old.
According to police, the driver of a Mercedes Benz SUV, Kwasi Oduro, lost control of his vehicle while backing into a parking space, striking three patrons, who were family members, inside of Kennedy Fried Chicken & Sandwiches near IRT 6 Pelham Bay Station on Thursday, June 4 at around 5:30 p.m.
Oduro, from Soundview, allegedly fled the scene after the accident, only to be stopped by traffic enforcement agents two blocks away at Continental and Westchester avenues, according to police.
A store employee, Ali Ibrahim, said that just before the accident he had served ice cream to a table where the three victims were seated: Ethan Villavicencio who died, and his father and sister who were injured.
“The car reversed into the store hitting tables right inside,” said Ibrahim, who was in the back of the house when the impact occurred, adding “What I caught from the side of my eye was what I thought were flying rocks.”
The rocks were actually shards of glass, he said, adding that the Mercedes was inside the store for less than 30 seconds before fleeing.
Ibrahim said the Mercedes first backed into a parked car and made a brief stop, and then continued in reverse through a glass storefront.
“I saw the kid on the sidewalk struggling for about ten minutes,” he said, adding that Villavicencio was covered in blood after being moved to the sidewalk before an ambulance arrived.
According to an official at Jacobi Medical Center, Villavicencio’s dad and sister sustained non-life threatening injuries. The mother had a doctor’s appointment at the medical center across the street at the time of the incident. The family is from Mott Haven.
Within a day of the tragedy, a memorial with candles and signs were placed in front of the boarded up restaurant, and it has continued to grow.
There is a no word yet on whether the Kennedy Chicken franchise will reopen, said Irene Guanill, president of the Pelham Bay Merchants Association, who added that it is too soon after the accident.
Balsamo Funeral Home, located on Westchester Avenue several blocks from the accident site, agreed to cover the costs of the funeral for Villavicencio, according to a spokeswoman for Senator Jeff Klein.
The senator’s representative also stated that her office was also in touch with Awilda Cordero, executive director of the Assistance for Emergency Rights, who is helping complete paperwork for the Office of Victim Services.
The spokeswoman added that office is working on finding a cemetery plot for the deceased child.