Van strikes children in Rockland County

October 23, 2012 3:04:02 PM PDT
Five children suffered injuries when a van plowed into them on Monday afternoon.

The accident happened around 4:00 p.m. along Bush Lane in the Village of New Square in Ramapo, Rockland County.

Investigators said the van, a 2002 Ford Econoline, driven by Rachid Elasri, 42, of Spring Valley, New York was traveling south on Bush lane when Elasri lost control and veered to the right onto a sidewalk where the five girls, one 7-year-old and four 9-year-olds, were standing.

The van kept going after striking the girls until it came to rest on a ground level Orange and Rockland utility box. The driver was uninjured and exited the van.

The five girls were scattered on the ground. 9-year-old Cheitel Surkis suffered a serious head injury and is being treated at Westchester Medical Center. 7-year-old Bracha Rawcki suffered a broken femur and collarbone and suffered internal injuries. She is being treated at Westchester Medical Center. Her sister, 9-year-old Yedis Rawicki suffered facial injuries and was treated and released from Nyack Hospital. 9-year-old Trany Surkis suffered a laceration to her scalp and was treated at Nyack Hospital. 9-year-old Brucha Holczer suffered a laceration to her head and had a leg injury. She was treated at Westchester Medical Center.

Sometimes, in the most hopeless of situations, like this, the right person is there to turn certain death into a celebration of life.

Jacob Goldmunzer was the right man today.

"It's a sad situation, we saw a couple of kids lying on the floor, pretty bad injured, and we assessed the scenario," Goldmunzer said.

He doesn't want to say it, but Jacob was the first medic on the scene when the van jumped the curb on a crowded street in New Square and ran over five young girls playing in the front yard.

For one 9-year-old Cheitel Surkis, it was grim.

"One of the young girls was not breathing; they immediately began performing life saving services on that girl," said Christopher St. Lawrence, town supervisor.

"Since I was the first paramedic on the scene, I tended to the most serious injured, which was not breathing, unresponsive, blood around the mouth, and nose coming out," Goldmunzer said.

Crowds gathered, horrified by what was happening.

At first nothing worked. The girl still wasn't breathing.

Jacob and his partner kept working, the van had also run over a transformer box and sparks were flying from that as slowly that girl started to breathe.

They put her in an ambulance where she began to stabilize.

Jacob Goldmunzer had pulled her back from the very edge of life.

"We all think that the people who join EMS that their hearts are made out of steel, they're not. You go home at night and you look at your own children different," Goldmunzer said.

Elasri says the vehicle had some type of a malfunction, according to investigators. The cause remains under investigation.


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