By Christina Santucci
Relatives of a beloved truck driver from Trinidad were in disbelief after police said he was struck and killed by a school bus shuttling special-needs children in Woodside.
“It was shocking to myself and everybody who we are telling is in shock,” said Khamrajh Hargobin, the brother of 52-year-old Thackoor Hargobin. “How could an accident like that happen?”
Police said Thackoor Hargobin of Canarsie, Brooklyn was hit by a yellow school bus at about 8:30 a.m. Monday morning on Borough Place near 50th Street.
Witnesses said at the time of the accident, Hargobin, who was employed by the Astoria-based Hephaistos Building Supplies, had been making a delivery to Super-Tex Products.
Three school buses were initially stopped on the street, but after police questioned several people, two of the buses left the scene. A third school bus from Brooklyn Transportation Corp., which had been carrying several special-needs students, remained on the street during the accident investigation. According to the NYPD, no criminality was suspected in the accident.
Michael Karantinidis, the owner of Hephaistos Building, said he hired Hargobin, whose nickname was “Tony,” in 1995, about a year after the company was founded.
“He was an experienced driver in his country,” Karantinidis said.
Khamrajh Hargobin said he had worked for Karanthinidis first and recommended his brother for the job as a driver.
“He loved to drive but he always tried to obey the rules at all time,” Khamrajh Hargobin said, describing how his brother refused to talk on the phone while behind the wheel.
Khamrajh Hargobin said his brother had two daughters and several grandchildren, whom he doted on. Khamrajh Hargobin said he last saw his brother last weekend at a Hindu prayer meeting that Thackoor Hargobin had organized.
The family had initially waited to tell Thackoor Hargobin’s mother, who lives in Trinidad with five of her eight children, about the accident.
“We finally broke the news to her,” Khamrajh Hargobin said.
Khamrajh Hargobin said the seriousness and the details of the accident were not immediately clear to relatives. Co-worker Edgar Romero, 46, was called and asked to go to the scene of the crash.
“We thought the ambulance was picking him up,” Romero said, explaining that instead he and another employee saw Hargobin’s body covered by a white sheet in the middle of the street.
Now the Harogin family is questioning how the crash could have happened.
“If you are driving a bus and you are carrying disabled students at what speed are you driving that you don’t see somebody in the road?” Khamrajh Hargobin said.
Reach photo editor Christina Santucci by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4589.