A child is dead and another is in critical condition after a car struck them in Delaware Park.
The vehicle left the road while traveling westbound on Route 198 - the Scajaquada Expressway - just past Parkside Avenue around 11:30 a.m. It struck a three year old boy who was taken to Sisters Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 12:15 p.m. His five year old sister is in critical condition at Women & Children's Hospital.
The two were out walking with their mother in the park, and one or both may have been seated in a stroller. Police Spokesman Mike DeGeorge said it is unclear if the mother sustained any injuries. She was taken to the hospital by her husband, where they are awaiting an outcome.
Police and fire crews responding to the scene of the accident were joined by Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitefield and Mayor Byron Brown.
“The Mayor was notified by the police department," said DeGeorge, "and wanted to stop by to check on the family or anyone, to provide comfort and support, given the obviously tragic nature.”
DeGeorge was unable to say if the Mayor joined the family at the hospital, but said it is not uncommon for him to do so.
Police said the driver of the vehicle is in custody and cooperating with investigators. Charges have yet to be filed against him, and any explanations for why he left the road are still pending investigation, which DeGeorge said is in its early stages.
The accident adds to long-running concerns over the safety and design of a high-speed road running through the middle of a normally pedestrian-filled park. DeGeorge declined to comment on the issue, noting that Route 198 is a New York State Department of Transportation managed roadway.
The westbound Scajaquada was closed from Parkside Avenue to Delaware Avenue for much of Saturday afternoon, due to police investigation. It has since reopened.