Panic and inexperience caused a 16-year-old girl with a learner's permit to jump a Floral Park curb and fatally strike a 9-year-old boy riding his bicycle on the sidewalk, officials said Friday.
The girl, who received the permit two weeks ago, became alarmed Thursday when she saw an oncoming car in her rearview mirror and poorly negotiated a turn, Nassau Police Det. Sgt. Richard Callahan said.
The girl was driving a 2004 Nissan Xterra, with her mother, northbound on Plainfield Avenue as she was trying to turn right onto Martha Terrace. When she noticed a car bearing down on her, Callahan said, she accelerated but made too wide a turn. Her SUV went up on the curb and hit Andrew Burrous of Floral Park, his mother and a parked Honda.
"This was a combination of panic and inexperience," Callahan said, adding that the girl, whom police declined to identify, would not be cited.
Kathy Burrous, 49, who was walking two dogs in the street near her son at the time of the crash, was treated and released from a hospital.
"It happened so fast," Burrous said Friday.
Robert Burrous, the boy's father, described his son as a "typical" 9-year-old lover of Pokemon and Super Mario video games.
"Every day was like a memory with him," Burrous said, choking up as he spoke. "We'd play around, wrestle -- typical father-son thing. . . . He was very outgoing, very active. He would try almost anything."
Susan Boduch, a close friend of Kathy Burrous, said he has an older brother, William, 13, and Andrew, who attended Floral Park-Bellerose School, was "a great little brother. . . . Everyone loved him."
Tony Blas, 28, a plumber who lives near the scene, said Friday he ran to help Andrew when he heard the crash.
"I was just trying to comfort him," said Blas, tears in his eyes as he spoke Friday about the crash. "I was like, 'Buddy, stay with us! Stay with us!' I checked his pulse, held his hand."
There was no pulse, Blas said.
Andrew was taken by ambulance to Long Island Jewish Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
At the scene Friday morning, Jeanine Curran, a resident, noted the crash was one of several serious accidents involving the community's young people in recent years. They included the 2009 Taconic Parkway wreck that killed Floral Park children Emma, Kate and Alyson Hance, ages 5 to 8, and five other people.
"It's devastating because this is another tragedy to Floral Park," said Curran, who was taking her daughter to school. "We lost Emma, Kate and Alyson in the Taconic tragedy, and now to have this."
Last July, three Floral Park teens -- Michael Mulhall and Jamie and Paige Malone -- were killed in a crash on the Meadowbrook Parkway on their way to work as camp counselors in Lido Beach.
Friday night, more than 300 people packed the Our Lady of Victory Roman Catholic Church in Floral Park for a prayer service requested by community members after Andrew's death.
"In tragedies like this, this is a community that comes together," said the Rev. John V. O'Farrell, the church's pastor.
A wake for Andrew will be 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday at the Thomas F. Dalton Funeral Home. A Mass will be offered Monday at 10:15 a.m. at Our Lady of Victory.
With William Murphy
and Bill Mason