MORRIS PARK — Three people, including a 10-year-old girl, were killed Saturday after a car crashed into a group of trick-or-treaters on a Bronx sidewalk, police said.
Louis Perez, 65, was walking with his granddaughters and another group near Morris Park and Bogart avenues around 5 p.m. Saturday when a car plowed into them, according to officials.
Nyanna Aquil, 10, Perez, and another man, 24-year-old Kristian Leka, were killed in the crash.
Aquil’s sisters, a 3-year-old and an 8-year-old, were injured in the incident, along with Leka’s 9-year-old sister and a 21-year-old woman, an NYPD spokesman said.
The victims were taken to Jacobi Medical Center, according to officials.
"I can’t believe this is happening," said Natalia Perez, Aquil's mother and Perez's daughter. "I was literally with her that same day in the morning and afternoon, you know? I was brushing her hair, and I was putting her nose and whiskers on her face to go trick-or-treating."
The 52-year-old driver “bumped” his Dodge Charger into the rear of a Toyota Camry, jumped a curb and slammed into six people before coming to a stop at 936 Morris Park Ave., police said.
Paramedics took the driver to Jacobi Medical Center where he was listed in stable condition.
“Last night’s crash tore apart two families,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement Sunday. “These three innocent people were lost on a day normally filled with childhood laughter and joy.”
“We do not accept tragedies like this as inevitable. This could be any of our families. Each of us must contribute to making this a city where everyone, especially children, can walk our streets safely.”
"We need more speed enforcement, and police and district attorneys must do more to hold deadly drivers accountable," he said. "This tragedy underscores the need for police to focus much more of the Vision Zero effort on reckless driving and less on admonishing pedestrians to wear bright-colored clothing."
Family members and friends held a vigil at the site of the crash Sunday night, according to reports.
Relatives of Perez and Aquil set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for the funeral. The goal was to raise $30,000, but the page had already raised $34,410 as of Monday morning.
"Nyanna was a beautiful girl," the page says. "She was a perfect, daughter, sister, and friend. She wanted to be a dancer and had her whole life ahead of her."
The fundraising site also describes her grandfather as a hero.
"A Vietnam veteran with a Purple Heart, he died saving his granddaughters from death," it reads. "He died doing what he loved: spending his precious time with his family."
No arrests had been made as of Monday morning, officials said.
The investigation will focus on the health of the driver, according to Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.
"It’s focusing, certainly, on the medical history of the driver, who it’s been reported, had a history of seizures going back a number of years," he said. "That will certainly be the focus of the investigation as to the potential cause of it.”
Although Natalia Perez described the deaths of her daughter and father as surreal, she was adamant that she would stay strong and said she hoped to set up a scholarship or memorial fund in honor of her daughter.
"I can’t imagine how the next year or two will be without them," she said, "but I’m happy at least that they both passed on the same day. They both will be entering heaven together."
"My dad will be there holding my daughter’s hand," she continued. "That gives me a little bit of peace of mind."