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Bronx Man Charged With Driving Into Restaurant, Killing Boy

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A 73-year-old man who police said plowed his SUV into a Bronx restaurant, killing a 7-year-old boy, has been arrested and charged.

Kwasi Oduro has been charged with three counts of leaving the scene of an accident, police said.

As CBS2's Matt Kozar reported, bail for Oduro was set at $10,000 in court Friday evening. The Bronx District Attorney's office had asked for $25,000.

Orduro was expected to be released Friday night, after members of his church raised money for bail.

"Accidents do happen, and things do happen," one man said. "He's not an evil person. He's very peaceful."

In court, Orduro was described by his attorney as a church elder and a father of two, who came from Ghana to the U.S. and put himself through college driving a taxi. But prosecutors said his actions behind the wheel spoke for themselves.

The crash happened at about 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Kennedy's Chicken and Sandwiches on Westchester Avenue by Bruckner Boulevard.

Police said Oduro was behind the wheel of a Mercedes SUV when he smashed through the glass, hitting a 34-year-old man, his 7-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter who were seated at a table eating ice cream.

"I heard like a 'boom' and I turned around and saw everybody yelling and running," said witness Gianluca Desieno.

Shah Mohammad, the owner of the restaurant, saw everything.

"It was a horrible moment and I'll remember it forever," he said.

Police: Bronx Man Facing Charges After Driving Into Restaurant, Killing Boy

Police said when the father of the two children yelled: "Move forward! Move forward! You're on my kids," Orduro drove off and did not stop despite a restaurant worker opening his door.

Investigators said Oduro drove off seconds after the crash. Witnesses said they ran after his SUV for two blocks and flagged down police, who found him in the banged up vehicle and made the arrest.

All three were taken to the hospital where the boy, identified as Ethan Villavicencio, died from his injuries, police said. His sister and father were also hurt.

"I was with him yesterday, that was the last time I saw him," the little boy's aunt, Taisha Alameda, told CBS2's Ilana Gold. "It's hard. He gave life to everybody."

Ethan's family says they are absolutely heartbroken and need answers.

Weak and barely able to move, Natasha Villavicencio needed help walking to the memorial for her son. She collapsed on the pavement in front of candles, flowers and toys.

Ethan Villavicencio
Ethan Villavicencio (credit: Family Handout)

"You see a little boy there, why would you even take off? What was going through his mind? What happened? I just want answers," Alameda said. "I need to know what happened and why that's all."

"I just hope he gets what he deserves," Ethan's godmother told 1010 WINS' Al Jones.

According to investigators, Oduro was trying to park the SUV at the time of the crash, but hit the gas instead of the break, causing him to reverse into the packed restaurant.

Ethan's sister and father have been released from the hospital with minor injuries after the crash, but are now trying to cope with losing the 7-year-old so unexpectedly.

"He was everything to us," Alameda said. "Everywhere he would go, he would make us laugh. He was the sun of our family. What are we going to do without him?"

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