MIDWOOD — Mourning the death of 10-year-old Enzo Farachio who was killed when he was struck by an out-of-control SUV while he was waiting for a bus on a busy Midwood thoroughfare, members of Families for Safe Streets and elected officials joined the boy’s family at the intersection where young Enzo was struck down to demand that the city tackle the issue of street safety, once and for all.
The group gathered on the evening of Thursday, Sept. 12, at Ocean Avenue and Avenue L.
“The only word you can use is tragedy,” Jane Martin-Lavaud, a member of Families for Safe Streets, whose daughter Leonora was killed by a speeding driver at Avenue U and East Fifth Street in 2013, told this paper. “A 10-year-old boy was struck and killed so we have another family that will spend a lifetime grieving.”
On Tuesday, Sept. 10 at around 2:43 p.m., the driver of the gray Lexus SUV was traveling northbound on Ocean Avenue when it suddenly mounted the sidewalk at Avenue L, hitting the boy. The vehicle then hit a scaffolding on Ocean Avenue. EMS rushed Farachio, who had suffered severe trauma to the neck and back, to New York Community Hospital when he was pronounced dead.
Cops say that a medical episode may have caused the driver to lose control of his vehicle. No arrests have been made.
The incident was called traffic violence by City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who has introduced a traffic master plan in the City Council that he says would go a long way toward addressing the issue.
“His family was planning on celebrating his birthday at the end of this month but because our streets prioritize cars over people, Enzo’s family is here grieving instead,” Johnson said. “We need to prevent the next tragedy for the next family in New York City.
“These are not traffic accidents and we should not call them traffic accidents. They are preventable tragedies,” Johnson added. “We have a city that is built for cars and not for people so New Yorkers are constantly in danger in every neighborhood across this city, in a crosswalk, on a sidewalk, on a bike, at a bus stop.”
“We know what we need to do to make streets safer,” said Martin-Lavaud. “This is not a new problem. I know the city is trying but it is reacting instead of taking proactive measures to prevent this from occurring. We try to make changes after every death. We need to do it beforehand.”
Johnson pledged to pass pending legislation that, according to him, will make streets safer.
“I promise you tonight in the wake of this horrific, soul-crushing tragedy, that we will pass this bill and pass it soon, and we will continue to rethink how we plan our city streets to protect people across New York City,” he said. “We will make our streets safe for everyone.”
State Sen. Andrew Gounardes was also at the vigil.
“I embraced his father and hoped I’d find the right words to comfort him,” he wrote on social media. “I felt (and feel) so helpless. I can write 1,000 new laws but I can’t legislate away this family’s pain.”
“We need to take this pain and turn it into purpose,” added Councilmember Chaim Deutsch. “To take it and tackle it and to find solutions to what is causing these fatalities in our city, to make sure something like this does not happen again.”
“I am so deeply sorry to the family and I want to say I’m sorry the city has failed you,” Johnson concluded.