Memorial walk and vigil for boy fatally struck by driver in Queens 1 year ago

JACKSON HEIGHTS, Queens (WABC) -- Family members, friends and elected officials gathered in Queens Thursday night to pay tribute to a young boy killed one year ago.

9-year-old Giovanni Ampuero was struck while crossing Northern Boulevard with his mother by an 86-year-old driver who then tried to leave the scene.

A memorial walk was held in Jackson Heights followed by a vigil in memory of Giovanni.

"Because my son Giovanni is not here is no reason whatsoever it should happen to any other kid," said Giovanni's father Raul Ampuero.

A year later Raul has channeled his grief into activism. He spent the year storming Albany, calling for reforms in traffic safety.

"This was the third child that was lost in 10 blocks, all in the exact same way," said New York State Assemblyman Michael DenDekker. "In the crosswalk. With green walk signs. Because drivers failed to yield."

In response, the Department of Transportation has been making changes in the area - installing center medians where pedestrians can wait for traffic, and implementing other methods to calm traffic. But it's still a busy spot.

And Thursday night as he hung Giovanni's picture over Northern Boulevard, Raul said he isn't finished, fighting for other people's kids.

"Kids don't need to die. We need to stop this now. We must protect our kids," he said.

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