Vigil in East Harlem to remember 3-year-old boy fatally struck by pickup truck

EAST HARLEM, Manhattan (WABC) -- A community vigil was held in East Harlem Monday night to remember a 3-year-old boy fatally struck by a pick-up truck last week.

Berlin DeJesus was killed in the accident while he was crossing a street with his mother at First Avenue and East 116th Street Dec. 9.

Family and loved ones attended the vigil at the scene of the crash, along with City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chairman of the Committee on Transportation, the Office of Council Women Diana Ayala as well as the NYPD's 25th Precinct.

The community came out to pray and light candles for the victim.

"He was like an old man, hair nice and combed. Family always together," said a friend, Martina Garcia.

Officials point to this tragedy as yet another reason to change the traffic pattern and slow down drivers.

"All the intersections that have a high volume of pedestrians trying to cross the street, we should separate the time for drivers to turn and pedestrians to cross," said Councilman Rodriguez.

The boy's 25-year-old mother, who was pushing a stroller, suffered minor injuries in the crash.

Police say a blue Ford F-250 operated by 59-year-old Jaime Sabogal, of Yonkers, was traveling eastbound on East 116th Street when it made a left turn onto northbound First Avenue and struck the stroller.

The child reportedly went under the truck.

Eyewitnesses say Sabogal was devastated when he got out of his truck and saw what had happened.

He was driving with a suspended license at time of the crash and was taken into custody. He was charged with third-degree aggravated unlicensed operator, failure to yield to a pedestrian and failure to exercise due care.

The DeJesus family had no comment at the vigil. The 25th Precinct is now offering to take the two older siblings, Alexi and Angelica, shopping for Christmas.

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