A 2-year-old was critically injured after a 4-year-old climbed into the driver's seat of a day care center van and put the vehicle in gear Tuesday on Staten Island, police said.
The 21-year-old day care worker was attending to another child inside the van around 5:30 p.m. while the van was idling across the street from Busy Kidz Day Care on Winter Avenue in St. George when the 4-year-old climbed into the front seat, according to the NYPD.
The child put the car in gear, though it wasn't clear if the vehicle was put in neutral or reverse because it was on a hill, police said. The van moved back, hitting a 2-year-old child who had been behind it. The vehicle came to rest against the fence of a neighboring house.
"The van was coming straight down and it was going into the driveway, into the gate," said witness Diana Lloyd.
"It was really horrible. It was really sad. Kids were screaming," she said.
Cellphone video captured the panic immediately after the child was struck. Amid the commotion, a voice could heard: "Someone call 911."
The child was taken to Richmond University Medical Center in critical but stable condition.
Police are investigating and say no arrests have been made. At this time, the NYPD said it appears the case was a tragic accident.
No one answered the door at the home day care Wednesday. A review of records by the I-Team found no serious violations by the day care over the last five years.
Chris Coons, whose daughter attends the day care, said the accident doesn't worry him.
"They're not being neglectful. They was loading up the van in order to take the kids home. Things just happen sometimes. Accidents happen," he said.