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Longboarder Dies When School Bus Hits Her in The Bronx, Witnesses Say

By  Patrick Wall and Aidan Gardiner | October 2, 2013 9:22am | Updated on October 2, 2013 3:41pm

 A 21-year-old woman died when a school bus struck her on Melrose Avenue Tuesday morning, cops said.
Fatal Boarding Crash in The Bronx
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MORRISSANIA — A young woman on a longboard hurrying home to her mother’s apartment Wednesday morning died after careening into the path of a school bus, cops and witnesses said.

Genielle Laboriel, 21, was riding one of the long cruising boards north on Melrose Avenue about 7:15 a.m. when she collided with a bus turning right onto East 160th Street, cops said.

Laboriel, an avid boarder who was considering enlisting in the Air Force, was taken to Lincoln Hospital and pronounced dead, police said.

She had slept at a friend’s house Tuesday night after the two boarded from the South Bronx to Times Square, said Laboriel’s mother, Awilda Laboriel, 58.

“She was a free spirit, I would call her,” the stricken mother said at her apartment in the Webster Houses public-housing development on East 169th Street.

“Everything was to skateboard — that was her passion,” Awilda said. “So she passed away doing something she liked.”

Laboriel appeared to be going too fast Wednesday morning to stop in time for the turning bus, according to Juanita Hernandez, who reviewed her neighbor's security footage before police took it.

"It was neither of their faults. It was a tragic accident," said Hernandez, 42.

Witness Nelson McKinsey was nearby when he heard the crash, he said.

"I heard a shriek and when I turned around, the front tires were on top of her," said McKinsey, who lives nearby.

Laboriel flailed her arms as a passerby waved at the bus, urging it to reverse off of her, McKinsey said.

The bus driver remained on the scene and was not immediately arrested, cops said.

"He had a look of panic on his face," McKinsey said.

The three children on board the bus were unharmed, police said.

Laboriel had studied for a couple semesters at a community college in Manhattan, where she contemplated joining the military or becoming a paramedic, since her mother often had to be taken to a hospital in an ambulance because of a medical condition, family said.

Quick to smile or crack a joke — she was expert at imitating outlandish transit riders when she returned home — Laboriel’s mother only half-jokingly urged her to become a comedian.

But longboarding was Laboriel’s real passion.

Using money her mother gave her for college fees, she bought a stylish Arbor-brand board, on which she would cruise with fellow boarders around Yankee Stadium, Central Park and even into Brooklyn.

Laboriel skated far and fast, said her sister, Danielle Laboriel.

“She was into speed,” said Danielle, 30, one of Laboriel’s two older siblings.

Laboriel was close with the neighbors on her floor — for no special reason, she recently bought one elderly neighbor a pair of pajamas, said Darlene Martin, the neighbor’s adult daughter.

Martin, who had called Laboriel “Mini Mouse” since she was a child, recalled the young woman as joyful, funny, positive and polite.

“I’ve never even heard her curse,” Martin said.

Roberto De Los Santos, 24, who used to longboard with Laboriel, said, “She was a very peaceful, very outgoing person.”

He said that longboarders are a "safe community" that tends to be more cautious than skateboarders, often wearing helmets and rarely doing stunts in the street.

Drivers, especially of buses, need to be more conscious of boarders, De Los Santos and Martin both said.

"Now that [bus driver] has to live for the rest of his life knowing that he killed a child," Martin said.