Bronx, New York — An out-of-control car plowed into a group of trick-or-treaters on Saturday evening, killing three people, including a 10-year-old girl and her grandfather, and injuring three others, police said. The driver also was injured.
The Halloween horror unfolded just before 5 p.m. as a group of costumed trick-or-treaters walked down a quiet residential block in the Morris Park neighborhood of the Bronx.
A 52-year-old man behind the wheel of the black Dodge Charger went careering into the group of pedestrians on a sidewalk and then smashed through a fence in front of a home, police said. The car was left teetering on a brick wall. A child’s shoe and remnants of mangled stroller lay on the sidewalk just feet away.
Moments before the car jumped the sidewalk, the driver had crossed over a double yellow line in the road after bumping into the back of a Toyota Camry, police said.
“There was a family of kids trick-or-treating, walking behind me,” Kristina DeJesus told WABC-TV. “All of a sudden … I heard the boom, and the car like literally jumped over a parked car and flew into the gate, hitting a bunch of people.”
Sixty-five-year-old Louis Perez suffered severe head trauma and died at the scene, police said. His granddaughter, 10-year-old Nyanna Aquil, and 24-year-old Kristian Leka, were taken to a hospital, where they were pronounced dead. Police did not know if or how Leka was related to the others.
Authorities said a 3-year-old girl was critically injured. A 21-year-old woman, a 9-year-old girl and the driver of the car also were taken to the hospital with injuries not believed to be life-threatening.
“The little girl in the cat costume, she was hurt, she was screaming,” witness Fabio Cotza told WNBC-TV. “It just didn’t look real … like this is a Halloween joke.”
A crowd of costumed onlookers descended on the scene Saturday night as investigators worked to determine the cause of the crash. No charges had been filed.
Hours after the crash, neighbors gathered for a small candlelight vigil to remember the victims.
“This is a sad situation, especially today, it’s Halloween,” Anna Crecco said. “It’s going to affect a lot, something like this has never happened here. Everyone’s going to remember when they pass by.”
This story has been corrected to show that one of the victims who died was 24 years old, not 21, one of the surviving victims was 9 years old, not 10, and that the driver of the car was 52 years old, not 63, based on updated information provided by the police.