One child has died, another severely injured, as a result of a horrific car crash in Borough Park/Bensonhurst on Monday morning that has left the community in deep mourning.
The victims, two young boys, were struck by a blue minivan outside of Yeshiva Ketane in Brooklyn, located at 2025 67th St, across the street from the P.S. 205 schoolyard.
Four-year-old Yoshi Balaban of Staten Island was pronounced dead at the scene. Six-year-old Yosef Berenbaum was transported to Maimonides Hospital by the Borough Park Hatzolah where he remains in critical condition.
The minivan was allegedly the same one that had dropped the boys off at school that morning.
The driver, a 76-year-old man, had driven away after striking the boys but returned shortly when contacted by the NYPD He, who has not been identified by name, claims he did not realize he had struck the two boys, and would not have left if he had noticed.
The NYPD does not suspect criminal activity because the man returned to the scene when contacted. However, according to the NY Daily News, records show that he has received camera tickets in the past for speeding within school zones. 67th street is a one-way street and a major school zone in the neighborhood. The investigation is ongoing.
Witnesses told the NY Daily News of the “horrific” incident, voicing anger at drivers who are not aware of their surroundings, and who do not put child safety first, especially those who are younger and cannot be easily seen from inside a large vehicle.
As reported by The Yeshiva World, Balaban’s funeral service was held at 8 pm last night at the Yeshiva of Staten Island at 1870 Drumgoole Rd, during which friends and family gathered to honor him. His burial took place at 613 Ramsey Ave Lakewood, NJ.
The loss of the boy was a tragedy, one that will not be easily forgotten. Rabbi Shloma Eidelman told Staten Island Live, “Every parent would wish to have a child like that.”
Berenbaum is still in the hospital with no new updates about his health status. The community is hoping for his rapid and successful recovery.