Driver Arrested After Crash Kills 9-Year-Old Girl, NYPD Says
BROOKLYN — A driver fleeing the scene of a crash slammed into a car in Canarsie Sunday, killing a 9-year-old St. Albans girl on her way home from church, police and family said.
Kenneth Palache, 62, was pulled over on Remsen Avenue near Avenue L but fled south when officers told him to step out of his Honda Odyssey, police said.
As he fled, his car slammed into a westbound Hyundai Elantra carrying Rebecca Ramnarine, who had been inside the Hyundai on her way home from church, on Avenue N about 5 p.m. family and police said.
The girl was taken to Brookdale Hospital where she was pronounced dead, according to the family.
"I'm devastated," said her father, Richard Ramnarine, who arrived at the scene with his wife Abiola minutes after the crash.
"Rebecca was full of energy," he added. "She loved people, she was always involved in something, she loved to dress up and go out."
Rebecca was riding with a family friend, Esther Cummings, 42, and her daughter Faith Cummings, 11.
The Ramnarine familiy and the Cummings family had just left Restoration Temple on Church Avenue in East Flatbush.
The two families, who have been friendly for many years, were traveling to have dinner at The Nest, a Caribbean restaurant in Jamaica.
"She was a sassy little girl," said Candace Cummings, Esther Cummings' sister-in-law.
She said that Rebecca, who attended P.S. 118 Lorraine Hansberry, "loved fashion."
"She loved to dress up, doing nails and make-up, she was a girly girl, full of life and energy."
Cummings said that before getting into the car, Rebecca, who called her "Auntie Candy," gave her a hug. "She was very loving young lady."
Cummings said that her sister-in-law sustained severe spine, pelvic and femur injuries, and her niece Faith has a fractured pelvis. They were treated at Brookdale Hospital, she said.
Cummings, whose husband grew up with Rebecca's father in Guyana, said that as a Christian, she believes in forgiveness, but said she cannot stop asking herself why the driver behaved so recklessly. "It's incomprehensible."
Three other passengers, who were in the Toyota, were also taken to Brookdale in stable condition, according to the NYPD.
Palache, who lives in Huntington, N.Y., was arrested at the scene on charges of criminally negligent homicide, leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death and driving without a license, police said.
He initially hit a blue Jeep at 87th Street and Foster Avenue, but drove away from the scene, an NYPD spokesman said.