Jamaica teen killed on way home from school by truck

By Michael Morton

Jayvon Hammond of 131st Avenue in South Jamaica was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. The driver of the truck, a man whose name was not released, was not charged. Witnesses said he had the right-of-way and had no time to stop for the 14-year-old. “He wasn't paying attention, basically,” 20-year-old Luis Nieuwkerk of Jamaica said of the boy. “It wasn't the guy's fault.”Hammond had apparently been on his way home from IS 231, a magnet school he attended in Laurelton. After his death, police closed down a section of Merrick Boulevard running along Roy Wilkins Park, just above the accident site near the corner with Baisley Boulevard. As highway patrolmen took measurements, a pool of blood and a single sneaker sat near the parked truck, a black Chevy, and the bus. The truck had a broken left headlight and a dented bumper.Nieuwkerk, who did not know Hammond, ended up sitting by him on the bus, and saw the accident take place as the boy ran out the rear door and around the back onto Merrick Boulevard. As the truck struck Hammond, the driver slammed on the brakes and started crying as he hopped out, Nieuwkerk said.”They guy came over and was like, 'No, no, no,'” Nieuwkerk said. Hammond's friends from school soon came over but did not realize what had happened at first.”His friends did not even know it was him at first,” he said. “I thought he was going to move his feet or something.”Hammond's family could not be reached for comment. The 14-year-old was reportedly well-liked on his block and was known as a responsible youth who helped his family out. Witnesses noted that he lived several blocks away and thought he might have missed his normal stop.The 14-year-old is not the first pedestrian to be struck near Roy Wilkins Park, witnesses said. They said while elementary school students ride yellow buses that other vehicles are required to stop for, older students use city buses with no such protective mechanism. The witnesses suggested safety needed to be improved for these riders. “It makes you think,” Nieuwkerk said. “You gotta take your life one step at a time.”Reach reporter Michael Morton by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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