CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) – A 12-year-old boy who was starting a new life in America was killed Monday afternoon after being hit while riding his bike at Harlem and Walden in Cheektowaga.
Mustoba Rafid and his older brother were on bikes heading eastbound trying to cross Harlem Road at Walden Avenue during the noon hour when he was struck.
“We believe the southbound lanes for going straight were red, which may have misled them,” according to Cheektowaga Police Lt. Steven Berecz.
While the boys crossed in front of the cars that were stopped for the red light, the arrows for the left turn lanes turned green, and those cars started moving.
“The light signal just changed and they just started accelerating so they didn’t get very fast,” said Lt. Berecz. “He actually did get hit by two vehicles. The first one hit his rear tire and he continued on when he was struck by the second vehicle.”
Mustoba and his brother were only a quarter mile from home. They were crossing Harlem Road to get to this Erie 1 Boces Center to pick up some paperwork for his brother’s schooling.
It’s possible the language barrier played a role here. At this intersection, the ‘Do Not Cross’ symbol stays lit. The signal to start crossing will only appear if you press the button. We saw several people crossing without activating the start crossing signal, at what police admit is one of the busiest intersections in town.
“Behind Union and Walden, this is the second worst, Walden and Harlem,” sad Lt. Berecz, who is the Traffic Lt. for the Cheektowaga Police.
Relatives say Mustoba would have started school next month at Cheektowaga Central, and loved the freedoms here in the United States that he didn’t have living in an apartment in Bangladesh. He had just moved to Cheektowaga a couple months ago and learned how to ride a bike this summer.
No charges are being filed against the drivers. Police say though Mustoba was not wearing a helmet, in this case it may not have saved his life.
“First off we have to pay attention to roadway signs, especially the sign when it says cross, then you’re supposed to cross. Always ride with your bicycle helmet on for the children,” said Lt. Berecz.
Police ask that anyone who witnessed the accident call the Cheektowaga Police Accident Investigation Unit at 686-3580.