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Toddler in stroller fatally struck by unlicensed driver in NYC

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 12/9/2019 Ellen Moynihan, Graham Rayman, Wes Parnell
a close up of a busy city street © Luiz C. Ribeiro

A 3-year-old boy in a stroller and his mom were struck by a truck moments after they stepped out of a Dunkin’ Donuts in East Harlem on Monday, leaving the toddler dead, police said.

Little Bertin Dejesus and his mom were crossing First Ave. in the crosswalk when a blue Ford F-250 making a left turn off E. 116th St. struck them about 9:35 a.m. , cops said.

The 25-year-old mom, who survived with minor injuries, had just completed her morning ritual of stopping in at the Dunkin’ Donuts at that intersection.

“It was like a normal day," said Marisol Medina, a Dunkin’ Donuts worker. “She got her coffee, her bagel, sat there for a little bit then went on her way. . . . She said goodbye like she always does.”

“She left to cross the street and the truck hit her,” a shaken Medina added. “I went out to try to help her, but the baby was dead already. But I was just hoping that the baby was alive.”

Medina tried to comfort the hysterical mother in the moments before first responders arrived.

“She was grabbing her child screaming," Medina said. “She just wanted to make sure her son was OK. . . . Tragedy, I was just heartbroken.”

The mother and son were taken to Metropolitan Hospital, where the toddler died, cops said. The boy lived with his family about half a mile from where he was killed.

“We are upset,” said Ram Roy, another Dunkin’ Donuts worker. "We are crying for her kid because we love them. "

Driver Jaime Sabogal, 59, of Yonkers, initially left the scene but quickly returned and was taken into custody, sources said.

He was charged with failure to yield to a pedestrian, failure to exercise due care and aggravated unlicensed driving and given a summons to appear in court at a later date, authorities said.

“It’s very bad,“ said a neighbor of the victim, who described Bertin as having been ”very happy, happy all the time."

The family is from Mexico and the boy’s father is a musician in a band. Bertin had two older brothers, the neighbor said.

Little Bertin’s stroller, with a turquoise rain shield, sat in the middle of the intersection as cops investigated the crash.

“I literally saw the car hit but I looked away so fast,” said witness Erika Sallen, 31. “I took my umbrella and blocked it because I didn’t want to see. . . . I heard them screaming, ‘The baby, the baby!’ ”


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