HARLEM — The 13-year-old boy fatally struck by an SUV driver after darting into traffic on East 135th Street last week was fleeing another man who was enraged over a bottle being hurled at his car, his distraught relatives told DNAinfo on Monday.
Kayshawn Whitick was with his twin brother, Keyshawn, and another friend on the way to the park last Wednesday when someone chucked a bottle at a car near Fifth Avenue just before 4 p.m., police and Whitick’s family said.
“The driver got out of the car and started chasing after Kayshawn,” his aunt, Crystal Whitick, said. “By Kayshawn being so scared, he ran into the street to get away from the guy.”
Whitick was then hit by a 2016 Jeep Wrangler while trying to cross south on East 135th Street, according to police.
He was taken to Harlem Hospital but succumbed to his injuries Thursday, police and relatives said.
Relatives insisted it wasn’t one of the twins who threw the bottle at the vehicle.
“My grandson was not malicious like that,” Diane Samuel, 55, said. “He wasn’t throwing bottles. He didn’t do anything. He was just scared for his life. He’s only a kid. He didn’t know no better.”
The NYPD didn’t have any information on whether Whitick was being pursued when he was hit.
“Kayshawn was very talented,” his aunt remembered. “He was good at art. He was good at basketball. He was a good dancer. He was going to high school in September. Now he’s not gonna make it there.”
The 42-year-old female driver had a green light when she hit Whitick and had not been charged as of Monday, according to police.
Samuel said the intersection has long been dangerous for pedestrians.
“It’s a very dangerous corner, and it shouldn’t be,” she said. “They should have speed bumps. They should have lights.”
She praised a good Samaritan who rendered first aid on her grandson as he lay motionless in the street.
“If that lady didn’t perform CPR, I wouldn’t have been able to even see him on a ventilator,” his grandmother said. “She didn’t know him, but she didn’t care who he was and she helped him.”
Kayshawn’s funeral will be held Friday morning in Inwood.
Samuel said she will press lawmakers about taking additional safety measures at the intersection.
“I’m not going to just sweep it under the rug,” she said. “I don’t want him to die in vain.”
As of the end of July, five people had been injured at the intersection so far this year, including one pedestrian and four motorists, the city's Vision Zero maps shows.