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16-Year-Old Boy Fatally Struck While Riding E-Scooter In Elizabeth, New Jersey; Scooter Debate Rages On

ELIZABETH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A 16-year-old boy is dead after being hit by a tow truck while riding an e-scooter Wednesday night in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

It happened just 20 days after the city started a scooter ride-share.

CBS2's Nick Caloway spoke with friends of the victim Thursday.

Surveillance footage captures the moments leading up to impact when the large tow truck collided with the teen. The driver of the truck was turning right from Elizabeth Avenue on to Spring Street when the two collided.

Nelson Miranda Gomez, 16, was operating the scooter. He died shortly after the crash.

"A life that was cut short way too early. Very tragic situation," Mayor J. Christian Bollwage said.

Bollwage told Caloway the city will be evaluating its relationship with Lime Scooters.

"These scooters are a fad. It's something the City of Elizabeth is trying out on a temporary basis," Bollwage said.

Lime just launched its scooters in Elizabeth on Nov. 1. Since Wednesday night's tragedy, at least one city council member says the program should be discontinued.

"What I expected to happen unfortunately happened. A kid got killed," said National United Youth Council member Salaam Ismial. He's a youth advocate in Elizabeth. He supports suspending the e-scooter program.

"I've had problems since the very beginning because there's no restrictions. Any kid can get on one of those bikes," he said.

A spokesperson for the company told CBS2, "We are absolutely devastated by this tragedy and our hearts go out to the victim's family and friends during this incredibly difficult time. We are in close contact with Elizabeth officials and stand ready to assist in any way we can."

The spokesperson said safety is the company's highest priority and riders should be at least 18 years old to operate one.

Late Thursday afternoon, dozens of friends and classmates gathered at the scene of the crash for a vigil honoring Gomez, remembering the Hillcrest Academy junior and grieving his loss.

"He was a really good guy, to be honest. He was like my brother. And I was really happy to be his friend because he was really cool," said Henry Bueso.

Police said the tow truck driver stayed on the scene. No charges have been filed.

This marks the third e-scooter share program in New Jersey.

Hoboken just ended its six-month pilot program with Lime Wednesday and, on the last day, Hoboken police say there was a collision between a scooter and a car.

While many have safety concern, plenty of people tout the benefits saying it's a greener and affordable transportation option helping to reduce traffic congestion.

MORE: Hoboken Pulls Plug On Electric Scooter Company After Several Accidents, Mother And Infant Injured By Rider

For now, the e-scooters are off Hoboken streets and the city hasn't decided what it'll do next.

"I think they're cool. Yeah they're good," Joe Cabrera of Hoboken said.

"I think that they're terrible. No one knows how to ride them properly. They'll go the wrong way down the street," Jason Rivera countered.

"I think it's be great to have them back. I think just having more clear indication of where they need to be ridden would be great because I think that was the main confusion and the hazard was people riding them on the sidewalks," Taylor Demuth said.


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