Authorities have identified the 2-year-old girl who died when she was flung from her grandmother's arms after the duo, and the toddler's 4-year-old brother who was with them, were hit by a mail truck as they tried to cross a New Jersey street.
Sofia Flores was pronounced dead about an hour after the accident on Rahway Avenue in Elizabeth Monday. Her grandmother, 55-year-old Anna Chacon, was listed in critical but stable condition at a hospital after undergoing brain surgery Monday afternoon, hospital officials said.
A witness said Chacon had been trapped under the mail truck after it hit them. The 4-year-old boy was also taken to a hospital, but had "a few abrasions" and was expected to be OK.
Hospital officials said he remained at the hospital Monday evening as he waited for his father, who was at a different hospital with the dead 2-year-old, to pick him up.
Witnesses described a horrific scene as the mail truck slammed into the grandmother and young children; the impact ripped the toddler from her grandmother's arms and flung her into the air.
"When she looked back she saw the truck and turned but the baby flew up," said witness Andres Figueroa. "It's hard to see a baby like that."
Witnesses said another driver stopped and ran out to help the older child as the mail carrier pulled the 2-year-old out of the road.
The police investigation into the accident is ongoing, and there was no update Tuesday on the status of the United States Postal Service driver. Investigators are looking into whether the grandmother was in the crosswalk or whether she was crossing the street with the light.
People familiar with the area say the intersection is tough for both drivers and pedestrians to navigate.
"It's a lot of traffic here," said witness Edgar Rubin Gomez. "A lot of people, they don't want to wait for the lights so they just cross."
Kim Tansey said she travels in Elizabeth regularly and the intersection where the three people were hit "is a really bad intersection." She called the child's death "heartbreaking."
A spokesman for USPS said Monday the Postal Service is conducting a full investigation and cooperating with authorities.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to all involved in the tragic event today," spokesman George Flood said.