A 4-year-old boy riding with his father on a stolen motorized scooter died from head injuries after they crashed in the Bronx, police said Monday.
Mario Rosario Sr. was arrested for endangering the welfare of a child in the wake of the tragic crash —because while the dad was wearing a helmet his little son was not, according to cops.
Rosario, 24, was heading south on Bailey Ave. with his son seated behind him on the stolen two-wheel scooter when he collided with a 2022 white Toyota Camry near W. 193rd St. about 9:20 p.m., police said.
The force of the crash sent the scooter onto the sidewalk, with both father and son thrown to the ground. Police said the Toyota’s driver, William Baez, 51, was trying to turn left onto W. 193rd St. as the father was trying to move past the car. Baez was heading to his home less than a half block away.
“I have that image stuck in my head, seeing the child lying there,” Baez’s brother-in-law, who rushed to the scene, told the Daily News. “They were trying to revive [the boy]. The father was very upset, crying, banging on the car.”
Little Mario Rosario Jr. suffered catastrophic head injuries. Medics rushed him to St. Barnabas Hospital, where he died at 10:15 p.m., cops said.
His father was taken to the same hospital with minor injuries. Baez was not hurt.
The Rosarios were half a mile from home when they crashed. Grief-stricken loved ones set up a small memorial of candles outside the home Monday.
“He was the brightest little kid,” said a woman who stopped by the memorial with a small boy in tow. “That was his best friend.”
Baez was charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. His brother-in-law defended him, calling him a loving father of three, including one kid around the same age as Mario Jr. He said Baez was unaware his license was suspended.
“All of us will have to be in therapy after this,” the brother-in-law said. “It is such a horrible tragedy.”
Rosario was awaiting arraignment in Bronx Criminal Court on Monday. In addition to endangering the welfare of a child, he was charged with possession of stolen property because the scooter, a 2022 Fly Wing, was stolen from a 19-year-old man in Queens early on Aug. 4.
Police said the owner was riding near Queens Blvd. and Jacobus St. in Elmhurst when he was confronted by five men who said they would shoot or stab him if he didn’t surrender his ride.
There have been no arrests, and it wasn’t clear Monday if Rosario is suspected in the robbery.