Little Amar Diarrassouba was walking to school with his 9-year-old brother, but neither boy saw the danger — and the woman assigned to First Ave. at 117th St. was not at her post.
Police are questioning crossing guard Flavia Roman to see if she alerted her supervisor she was taking a break before the 7:50 a.m. accident.
“It’s being reviewed,” said Inspector Kim Royster, a NYPD spokeswoman. “If she left, what time did she leave? Did she notify someone?”
Meanwhile, Amar’s family — immigrants from the Ivory Coast — sobbed in their apartment in the East River Houses.
“Your brother is gone,” the dead boy’s mom, Mehichata, told a relative over the phone while tears streamed down her face.
Inside the packed apartment, weeping relatives hugged each other.
“He was so smart, he loved everybody,” the distraught mother said. “He was a wonderful child, that’s it. What else do you want?”
“It is horrible, just horrible,” Amar’s aunt, Fatima Sylla, said earlier. “A little boy walking to school, and now he is just gone.”
Several blocks away, Roman’s relatives said they feared she would become a scapegoat.
They said the 55-year-old grandmother, who raised five kids on her own, had been a crossing guard for 10 years and once saved a child from an oncoming car.
“She hardly ever takes a break,” granddaughter Karina Matias, 21, of Queens, said. “It’s unfortunate that the one minute she does a child gets killed.”
Matias said Roman usually uses the bathroom at a nearby Mexican restaurant, but because it opened late she ran to her apartment on East 117th St. — about half-a-block from the intersection she patrols.
“I don’t understand how anybody can say anything negative about her,” Matias said. “They have to put the blame on someone. Why my grandmother? Why not the driver?”
But other parents with kids at Public School 155, which Amar attended, said Flavia “is a person who doesn’t do her job well.”
“Whenever someone is crossing, she’s involved in conversations with other people,” said Oscar Paz, 28, who has two kids at the school. “She’s always on the telephone.”
The truck driver, Robert Carroll Jr., 42, of Woodbury, N.J., was hit with summonses for failing to use due care and failure to yield to a pedestrian. His truck is owned by the Texas-based McLane Co.
“We have launched an internal investigation into this tragedy and are fully cooperating with the NYPD and all appropriate authorities,” company spokesman Stefan Friedman said.
The youngest of four sons, Amar was heading to his school at 319 E. 117th St., when he was struck.
Amar had run ahead of his brother into First Ave. and was about five feet off the curb when he was hit by the back wheels off the truck, police sources said.
Carroll, who had just turned north onto First Ave., didn’t realize he had hit the boy until after bystanders yelled at him to stop, the sources said.
The driver stopped and ran back to the corner, where he found Amar bleeding on the ground beside his backpack, and the boy’s brother weeping over his body.
“I saw the child on the ground,” witness Hugo Skinner said. “There was blood all over his body. My wife just started sobbing and sobbing because the child was laying there helpless.”
“He was bleeding from the face,” another witness, who declined to give his name, said of the dead boy. “His brother was just standing there. Then his brother started crying.”
Paramedics tried furiously to revive Amar, the witnesses said, before rushing the boy to Harlem hospital. But he could not be saved. He died at 8:17 a.m. of severe head injuries, sources said.
Skinner, 46, said the truck had no business being on 117th St. He said trucks should be traveling on 116th St., which is a two-way street.
“This is not a commercial street,” he said. “This is a local street. It’s something that’s completely ignored.”
In 2011, Gov. Cuomo signed a law requiring mirrors on the front end of big trucks — a law the Daily News reported last year was not being widely enforced.
The killer truck was registered in Illinois, and did have the convex, or crossover, mirror attached near the headlights. But they apparently made no difference in this tragic case.
- Truck Accidents | eLocal (elocallawyers.com)
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