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Boy Chasing Soccer Ball Dies After Van Hits Him in Park Slope

By  Aidan Gardiner Ben Fractenberg and Janon Fisher | October 9, 2013 6:47am | Updated on October 9, 2013 8:24pm

 Samuel Cohen-Eckstein, 12, was struck an killed on Prospect Park West.
12-year-old killed in Park Slope
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PARK SLOPE — A boy just a month away from his bar mitzvah celebration was struck and killed by a van as he chased a soccer ball across Prospect Park West Tuesday afternoon, cops said.

Samuel Cohen Eckstein, 12, was playing across the street from his home about 5:15 p.m. when he  lost control of the ball, ran into the street and was hit by a white 2006 Chevrolet van, police said.

He was taken to Methodist Hospital, but could not be saved, cops said.

The driver stayed at the scene and was not charged and no summonses were issued.

Sammy, as he was known to his friends and family, was preparing to celebrate his bar mitzvah on Nov. 16 with the Kolot Chayeinu congregation in Park Slope. His parents planned a party afterward at the Firehouse Space in Williamsburg, according to his bar mitzvah website.

Photos of him from his webpage show a smiling youth with a mop of brown hair holding a baseball bat over his shoulders.

His parents declined to comment.

The accident left neighbors heartbroken.

"I've been crying since last night. It's just tragic," Stacey Ragan, a Park Slope resident whose daughter once attended school with Sammy. "I'm so heartbroken."

She said that the accident had prompted her to caution her daughter.

"I was just telling her, 'Please be careful,'" she said.

Keith Williams, 28, also of Park Slope, said that he happened on the scene just after the crash.

"It was very difficult to see a child lying like a ragdoll in the street," Williams said.