Five students were injured, two with broken legs, Thursday morning after the driver of an SUV jumped the curb while trying to park near a middle school in the Maspeth section of Queens. NY1's Arlene Borenstein filed the following report.
Just minutes after being released from Elmhurst Hospital, 11-year-old Bajram Krcic described the frightening moments when a driver barreled into him and four friends while they were on the way to school.
"I was talking to one of my friends, and then, there was a car from behind," Krcic said. "I was trying to run away, but the car hit me out of nowhere."
Surveillance video captures a silver SUV veering off road and onto a sidewalk before plowing into the group of middle school students.
It happened outside a deli at Grand Avenue and 71st Street, which is near their school, I.S. 73.
Police call it an accident. They say the 40-year-old man was trying to park, but instead of stepping on the brakes, he hit the gas.
Parents and children witnessed the chaos.
"Ashley was under the car," said Melanie Huerta, who witnessed the accident. "She got stuck right there. She couldn't get up."
That's when nearly a dozen people rushed to lift the car, including horrified parents dropping off their own kids at school.
"Her bag was still on her shoulder and she had a sandwich in her hand she had just bit, and I managed to maneuver the bag, and another man came and he helped me, and we managed to pull her out," said Lynx Garcia, a witness who also helped at the scene. "She did say, 'Hold me,' and I held her until, they came really quick."
In all, five children were rushed to the hospital.
Chancellor Dennis Walcott visited with them and spoke about the incident later in the day.
"One boy said to me, 'Can I go to school tomorrow?'" Walcott said. "His mother gave him a look like, 'Are you serious?'"
It was a sign of resilience despite a scary welcome to the first week of school.
"Yeah, I'm OK. I'm walking step by step," Krcic said.
Aside from recovering from some broken bones, cuts and bruises, all of the kids are expected to be OK.