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Kings Park boy describes being hit by SUV at school bus stop

Kings Park resident Ian Palencia-Mendoza showing the scar

Kings Park resident Ian Palencia-Mendoza showing the scar on his elbow with his mom Ruth Palencia-Mendoza sitting behind him Friday Sept. 22, 2017, after being hit by a car while crossing the street for the school bus across from his home. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Ian Palencia-Mendoza remembers clearly how close he was to boarding his Kings Park school bus one morning last week when he was struck by a sport utility vehicle.

The sixth-grader was crossing a dangerous stretch of First Avenue, near Carlson Avenue, when it happened.

“I was a foot or two away from the bus. All of a sudden this big car, SUV, hits my leg,” Ian said in an interview Friday at his home, where he is recuperating.

“I feel my body get hit, and I . . . get knocked back a couple feet,” the 10-year-old said. “I hit the bus and my elbow breaks some of the stop sign.”

The boy hit the pavement and slid, ending up behind the bus.

Ian, who broke his left femur in the Sept. 15 crash, spent six days at Stony Brook University Hospital, where doctors placed a metal rod in his thigh to help the bone heal. The rod will need to be replaced periodically as Ian grows, said his mother, Ruth Palencia-Mendoza, 41.

“When I first got hit I didn’t feel the pain, but when I got to the hospital I felt the pain. It was really bad,” said Ian, who attends William T. Rogers Middle School.

First Avenue — a heavily-traveled, two-lane road that runs north-south — is not a safe place to pick up and drop off students, said Desiree Quinn, whose 12-year-old twin boys wait for the bus at the same stop as Ian.

“There’s no stop sign, no sidewalk, no crosswalks, no crossing guards,” she said.

The bus stop — on the side of the street where Ian lives — had no sidewalk, forcing Ian to wait across the street at Carlson Avenue, where there is one. Ian had to cross First Avenue a second time after the bus arrived.

Since the collision, Ian’s mother said officials at Kings Park Central School District have changed the route, and the bus now picks him up in front of his house.

The SUV driver, Pasquale Izzo, 81, of Kings Park, who police said ignored the flashing lights and stop sign on the school bus, remained at the scene.

He told police he did not see the flashing lights or sign, a claim Kings Park Central School District Superintendent Timothy T. Eagen has disputed.

Suffolk police, who have not issued summonses to Izzo or charged him with a crime, declined to comment Friday, saying the investigation is ongoing.

Attempts to reach Izzo and Eagen on Friday were unsuccessful.

Ian and his mother said Izzo should be held accountable for what he’s done, although they don’t want him thrown in jail.

“I don’t want him to be arrested because he’s an old man,” said Ruth Palencia-Mendoza. “There should be fines, so other people can learn from it. You have to be more careful.”

For the next four to six months, Ian will be in a wheelchair. With the help of a physical therapist, he will be able to walk again, doctors have told the family.

“I’ll be able to run,” Ian said, “but I am not going be fast anymore.”

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