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Van Backs Into Stroller, Killing 8-Month-Old Boy In Queens

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- An 8-month-old boy was killed Friday when his stroller was struck by a van in Queens.

Police said the van was backing out of a narrow driveway on Astoria Boulevard near 93rd Street in East Elmhurst around 10:15 a.m. when it hit the stroller, which was being pushed by the boy's 35-year-old mother who had just left the deli next door with a dozen eggs.

"The van starts coming out slow, he taps it, when he taps it, she comes back like this and she starts screaming," one witness told 1010 WINS' Al Jones. 

The baby, Navraj Raju, was knocked out of the stroller, and the van continued to back up.

"He probably didn't know he hit the carriage. He continues to run over the little baby, he ran over it," the witness said.

EMS rushed Raju to Elmhurst Hospital Center, where he died.

Raju's mother was not injured.

"It was an accident waiting to happen here anyway, between the gas station and these people backing out," a clerk at the Shell station told WCBS 880's Marla Diamond. 

As CBS2's Lou Young reported, neighbors say the narrow driveway has limited sightlines especially when drivers are in reverse.

"The backing out, the backing out. You tell them to be careful, you look out the side. Like they say, the mother was bending down tending to the baby, so she didn't see him backing out," Carlos Lopez said.

They were apparently in his blind spot.

The mother was taken directly to the hospital in shock. The boy's father is a long haul trucker who rushed back to New York from Pennsylvania to be with his wife. They have another son, a 3-year-old who is living with his grandparents in India.

The driver -- identified as Armando Morales-Rodriguez, 44, of Queens -- remained on the scene and was taken into custody. He was charged late Friday with driving without a license.

"Our streets must be safer. Drivers must pay real penalties for their actions," said New York City Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland. "We will learn more about this particular driver and incident, but the basics are clear. Only with stiff penalties will drivers take the care necessary to avoid crashes."

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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