Utica residents call for street safety after boy, 4, is hit by car


UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) -- A black car sits parked, roped off with caution tape on Brinckhoff Avenue in Utica Monday night. Just hours earlier, the driver hit a 4-year-old boy who was chasing after his ball.

"I was about to cry. I didn't know what to do. I was shaking," said Eh Htoochey, the young boy's cousin.

Police responded to emergency calls shortly after 5 p.m. The boy was airlifted to a hospital in Syracuse and police are calling the injuries severe. Some of the family waited on the porch waiting for news, while neighbors looked on as police reconstructed the accident.

"It's sad, it's really sad," said Donna DiCuffa, a resident that lives on the road.

The woman behind the wheel was still on scene several hours after the incident. She shielded herself behind an officer. Visibly shaken, she didn't want to speak.

"Right now it looks like kids ran out in the street and she didn't have much of a chance to stop," said Sgt. Frank Kuhn of the Utica Police Dept.

The neighborhood is packed with young kids and residents say safety has been an ongoing concern. Now that their road is blocked off with tape, they say something has to be done.

"Speeding, children playing, no speed limit signs. I mean they do it all the time and there have been so many kids out in the road running after balls- I'm surprised someone hasn't gotten hit before now," said Elizabeth Weakley, a concerned resident with a 5-year-old grandson.

It's unknown if speeding was a factor in this incident, but residents say it's a problem. The limit is 30 miles per hour, but there aren't any signs along the road to inform drivers.

"They go down too fast. Like I said I've seen them, they had to be 35, 40 miles an hour sometimes down this street. Especially motorcycles, scooters all that. It's been bad," said DiCuffa.

Now that the weather is warming up, more kids are outside playing.

"They need to put up some signs saying 'Kids at Play,'" said Weakley.

"Watch them if they're on the front lawn. Preferably play ball in the backyard that's much better," said Sgt. Kuhn.

Police are investigating and no charges have been filed.

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