BENSONHURST/GRAVESEND – Stephanie Mansfield has three kids; a six-year-old, a four-year-old, and a three-year-old. Last week, her youngest was hit by a car.
Three-year-old Jean Jacques was crossing the street with his class. There were about 23 children accompanied by two or three adults, Mansfield said. To keep them safe, the children were holding on to a circular loop ring. They were crossing the street in front of Lucretia Marcigliano Campus that is home to three elementary schools and one middle school. On the other side of the street is the Seth Low Playground.
As they were crossing, a car was driving down Stillwell Avenue. The driver made a left turn onto Avenue P and struck the two people in the front of the line: Jean Jacques and his teacher.
At that time, Mansfield was at the bank. Her son’s daycare called her and said her toddler was at the hospital and that he had been hit by a car.
“I didn’t know how he was,” Mansfield said. “I ran to the hospital and saw his teachers and the principal. I saw my son and they had a collar around his neck to stabilize it and he wasn’t responding.”
“There was no internal bleeding, no broken bones,” she said. “He wasn’t talking and I was just so afraid.”
Before continuing her story, Mansfield paused for a second, cried, and then apologized.
“I’m sorry. He is my son,” she said.
When Jean Jacques finally spoke, his first word was “penguin”. Mansfield laughed and said, “Isn’t that a weird first thing to say?”
Mansfield’s four-year-old son André was also crossing the street at the same time. He was standing right next to his little brother. After the incident, the rest of the class, including André, was taken to the school complex. Mansfield said he’s traumatized.
“He just watched his brother get hit by a car,” she said. “He told his uncle ‘It was so close, but it didn’t hit me.'”
Currently, young Jean Jacques has a concussion. Mansfield said he feels dizzy when he walks and will be starting physical therapy soon. And even though he is lucky and alive, Mansfield said they deserve answers.
“I don’t even know if the driver remained at the scene,” she said. “The police report said the driver had a glare in his eye. A glare? At 11:30?”
“Are you saying he couldn’t see kids? Whenever I drive, I know you’re supposed to look and slow down.”
Mansfield doesn’t know much about the teacher who was hurt, but she does know that she is doing fine and is alive. And now Mansfield wants to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else.
“My son is not OK. His speech is not the same. His running is not the same. He falls a lot,” she said. “He’s not the same. This should never have happened to him.”