Today’s news:

Truck kills Woodside school boy

Noshat Nahian's uncle, Azizul Chowdhwry (l.), and father, Mohammad Osma Miah grieve for the boy who died. Photo by Ellis Kaplan
Police investigate the scene of the crash on 61st Street and Northern Boulevard. Photo by Ellis Kaplan
Martha Puruncajas, the mother of 18-year-old Luis Bravo who was killed in a Woodside hit-and-run earlier this year, and Bravo's sister Sarah attend the vigil. Photo by Christina Santucci
State Sen Michael Gianaris, with the group Make Queens Safer, introduces legislation to crack down on illegal drivers. Photo by Bill Parry
TimesLedger Newspapers

A still shaken friend and neighbor witnessed the tragic death of 8-year-old Noshat Nahin, who was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer in Woodside as he walked to school last week.

“It was horrible. I haven’t been able to sleep,” said Dr. Shaila Suopana in an emotional voice Monday evening.

The third-grader was trying to cross Northern Boulevard with his 11-year-old sister to get to PS 152 at 62nd Street for the last day of school before the Christmas break.

“The boy was crossing the road and this big truck made a left-hand turn, never seeing him,” Suopana recalled. “The huge truck hit the boy, knocking him down. His sister was immediately in shock, and I think I was, too.”

The boy had moved to Queens with his family from Bangladesh only a few months ago.

Suopana said the facts she learned about the accident later made her angry.

The driver of the truck, Mauricio Osorio-Palomino, 51, of Newark, N.J., was arrested for allegedly driving with a suspended license, which is misdemeanor usually punishable with a fine or up to a year in jail.

“It was clearly the driver’s fault and then I found out he was unlicensed. I can’t believe it,” Suopana said.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) introduced legislation that would make it a felony for motorists who drive with suspended licenses and kill or seriously injure someone in the process.

Speaking Monday at the corner of 61st Street and Northern Boulevard in Woodside, where Noshat died last Friday, Gianaris said, “A little boy is dead because this driver was still on the road despite repeated unsafe driving violations.”

The senator also proposed the immediate impoundment of the license plate of a vehicle being operated by someone with a suspended license.

“I am hopeful that these bills will become law and help prevent tragedies like this one,” Gianaris said.

Noshat was on his way to class at PS 152, which stands at the other side of six lanes of traffic. There was no crossing guard at the corner.

“How on earth can you have a school zone with no crossing guard on such a busy street?” asked Suopono,

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) said “the school has requested a crossing guard for months and the city administration let them down.”

He added, “That’s an outrage that should have been prevented.”

Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) called for a comprehensive street safety plan for the city.

“Speed cameras and other technologies as well as crossing guards need to be included,” he said.

Several safety activists joined the elected officials at the news conference. Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, said, “It’s unconscionable that kids are dying in these streets. That truck didn’t even have crossover mirrors to see short pedestrians. More than one thing went wrong here.”

He produced statistics that showed drivers who had their licenses suspended or revoked for safety reasons are among the most dangerous and twice as likely to cause a fatal accident. From 2007-11, drivers with suspended licenses killed 181 city residents.

“I am sick and tired of having these press conferences,” Gianaris said.

Make Queens Safer-Three Children Too Many, a group of activists who advocate for safer streets, held a vigil to honor the child Sunday evening. More than 200 people attended, including Noshat’s parents.

His mother spoke briefly of her only son’s love of PS 152, according to the group’s co-founder, Cristina Furlong. Wasima Hussain, 14, said the mother told the crowd that she had wanted to return to her native Bangladesh, but Noshat convinced her to stay in the United States so he could pursue a career in medicine and take care of her when she was older.

“It was heartbreaking,” Wasima said.

About 40 of the child’s classmates attended the vigil.

“This could happen to anyone,” said Asif Rahman, 17. “I feel this could happen to me, it could happen to my parents.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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Reader Feedback

Peter B. from Rego Park says:
It is so incredibly sad and angering that these deaths keep happening. There is literally a book in NYC on how to redesign streets to make them safer - to calm traffic, to provide more space for pedestrians and create a complete street for all users. This does not have to happen ever again. From crossing guards, to enforcement, to proper street design there is a whole list of things that should be done not only on Northern Blvd but on all our dangerous streets. There are no excuses.

Also have to say I was struck by the name of the last person quoted here: In 2008 another Asif Rahman, just a few years older was killed while riding his bike on Queens Blvd. Asif is absolutely right, the next deaths can be us, can be our families. We walk and ride and drive these same streets every day and we are all at risk. We all need to stand up and demand safer streets.
Dec. 24, 2013, 9:55 am
Marisa from Queens says:
So sad deepest condolences to the family
Dec. 27, 2013, 10:21 pm

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