A cab driver struck and killed an 8-year-old boy who had paused in a crosswalk to pick up his mother's cell phone in Harlem yesterday, cops and witnesses said.
Axel Pablo was about to enjoy a slice of pizza when he stepped into the Lexington Avenue and E. 112th St. intersection just before 2 p.m. Suddenly a yellow taxi roared around the corner and plowed into the boy so hard he was knocked out of his shoes, according to the Daily News.
Cops said the child, who had just been laughing, was dead within minutes.
Witnesses said the cab driver was talking on his cell phone and appeared preoccupied, according to multiple reports. Today, cops refuted claims he was on his cell phone, saying that the only call the driver made was to 911. He tried to flee after the tragic accident, but was stopped by a deli worker who saw the whole thing.
"The [cab driver] turned the corner at like 50 mph, real fast, and just hit the kid," Salha Nagi told the News. "A guy was screaming at the cab driver to stop, and he was trying to leave, so I got in front of the cab and I turned off the car."
Cops arrested the driver at the scene, but released him later that night after determining he broke no laws. The Daily News says the driver has yet to be identified, but The New York Post reports he is 44-year-old Akim Saiful Alam .
The boy, a student at Public School 108, was rushed to Metropolitan Hospital, but doctors weren't able to save him.
His mother was devastated.
"My son has died, my son has died," Yolanda Pablo cried in the back of the ambulance, her friends told the News.
Later, Axel's mother fainted from grief and had to be transported to the same hospital where her son was pronounced dead that afternoon, reports the News.
"Yolanda is very, very sick," friend Rafael Martinez told the paper. "She can't believe he's died."