Several Manhattan College students were first responders to a hit and run that occurred near the corner of Riverdale Avenue and West 236th Street on Friday, Mar. 31st.
According to witnesses, a mother was struck by a vehicle while walking with her daughter not far from Popcorn Pawz pet store around 8pm.
Freshman Seane Satkunanathan, walking with a friend to get food nearby at the time of the accident, was one of the first to run over to the scene and assist.
“We were turning a corner, we didn’t see it happen but we heard [the impact] and the lady screaming,” said Satkunanathan.
Witnesses said that it seemed as if the woman had pushed her child away from the oncoming car, and in doing so was hit herself before the car fled the scene.
“I put my bag down and I went to help her out. I picked her up and she was resting on my leg and I was like ‘Are you okay?’ ‘What happened?’ […] Then another guy came and we helped her to a bench,” Satkunanathan said.
Sophomore Anna Occhino had also been in the vicinity getting food during the incident.
“I went to Yo-Burger with one of my friends and we were just hanging out, and we get out of Yo-Burger and we’re walking down the block and we see that there’s a lady in the street, and we thought she had just fallen down or whatever but then we saw a whole bunch of [people] pick her up and pull her over.”
Occhino asked Satkunanathan what had occurred and after learning what happened went to work consoling the young child.
“We were waiting for the ambulance to come and her daughter was still in hysterics crying so I started to calm her down, said Occhino. “I was going through breathing exercises making sure she was okay.”
Freshmen Kristen Aurrichio, Nora Nugent, and Moira Delaney also happened upon the aftermath of the accident after leaving a store further up the block.
“We made a left and we were turning the corner to head back to the college and then we heard a screech and then an [impact], and a little girl starts screaming ‘Mommy! Mommy!’ and then we turned around” said Aurrichio. “I thought her mother was like, dismembered in the street because I saw stuff everywhere, but it was just her [groceries].”
“Behind us we heard screaming,” said Nugent, “So we turned around and there was a mother and daughter in the street, all the woman’s belongings were in the street, and she was being carried by Seane and another kid.”
Aurrichio went to help calm the eleven-year-old child with Occhino while other students and bystanders attended to the mother, who appeared to be in her forties or fifties.
“I comforted the child, Nora dialed 911 and was on the phone with the police,” said Aurrichio.
At the same time, another witness attempted to follow the fleeing vehicle.
“When that was happening a man came out of his car, and screamed something like ‘I’m gonna go try to follow him,’ then got back in his car and chased off, and that’s when we knew it was a hit and run and not just a car accident,” said Nugent.
“He got back in his car and tried chasing the other guy, I’m pretty sure he didn’t get any number,” said Satkunanathan.
The woman was dazed but responsive at the time, and was able to make phone calls to let people know that she was ok while also attempting to calm her child down.
“She was struggling to talk and she was slurring her words a bit but other than that she was pretty fine,” said Occhino. “She couldn’t move her leg and kept saying that it hurt everywhere.”
An ambulance arrived on the scene within a few minutes of Nugent calling 911. Police arrived and talked to a few of the students a short time later.
‘We got the kid and the older woman in the ambulance and they were talking to her, then we waited ‘til the cops came, I explained what happened and he took down my name as a witness,” said Satkunanathan.
The incident serves as a reminder for students to stay alert and exercise caution while walking around Riverdale, despite the neighborhood’s often apparent sense of safety.
“That intersection’s pretty crazy as it is, we always tell people to watch out when they’re crossing the street,” said Occhino.
A police report was filed but the 50th precinct was unable to provide comment on the incident. Nugent said that she was contacted by an NYPD detective about a week later to recount the course of events one more time, and was told that the woman was currently doing fine.