Police arrested the man believed to be responsible for striking a 4-year-old boy while riding a dirtbike at a Queens park on Sunday before fleeing the scene — an incident he allegedly blamed on the child's parents.
Argenis Rivas was faces a slew of charges for the alleged hit-and-run around 6 p.m. at Flushing Meadows Corona Park that left little Jonathan Beauchamps fighting for his life over the weekend. Rivas, 29, allegedly didn't stop after Beauchamps sustained serious head trauma.
The child, who was spending time with his father and siblings at the time, was transported to Cohen Children's Hospital, where his parents said he is stable but still has a long road to recovery.
"He's a strong boy. He says to me, 'Daddy, I'm strong!' said the father, who did not wish to be identified. "I tell him all the time in the hospital and he's with the tube, I used to tell him you strong baby, you strong, you have super powers."
Rivas was charged with assault, reckless endangerment, leaving the scene of an accident with injury, acting in a manner injurious to a child, as well as operating an unregistered motorcycle without a license or insurance. It was not immediately clear if he had hired an attorney.
It was a confession that Rivas made on social media that may have helped land him in handcuffs, however. The parents of Beachamps said he was seen in a TikTok video admitting to hitting the toddler.
In the short video, Rivas can be heard in Spanish saying "We collided there! A child was run over," followed by the claim that the boy's parents were to blame.
"It was the parents' fault for not being attentive to their child," he is heard saying in Spanish.
The parents of Beauchamps were appalled at the brazen and callous remarks from the suspect.
"He didn't care. He didn't care like he did it," the boy's father said. "What if he has a kid? What if it was done to him? ... He would want the same justice right?"
An investigation is ongoing, police said. Given how busy it was at the park on the sunny weekend evening, many witnesses said they didn't even realize something was wrong.
"It was so much commotion going on that we didn't even realize somebody got hit until the ambulance and everybody came," one witness told NBC New York.
Others said that dirtbikes are a regular menace in the park, as well as throughout the city. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the NYPD is making progress, but is asking for the public's help too.
"We need community members to help us find where they're being kept so we can get them, seize them. If one's out there, it's immediately illegal," de Blasio said. "It's just not allowed in New York City, and we will destroy them, literally, and send a message to people."