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Girl killed, sister and mom left critically injured as minivan crashes in Brooklyn: cops

This story was first published on the New York Daily News

By Marco Poggio, Thomas Tracy, Mark Morales, Ginger Adams Otis

A 12-year-old girl was killed and her mother and younger sister critically injured Wednesday after a speeding stolen minivan jumped a Brooklyn curb and plowed into them, turning a sweltering summer day into panic and tragedy.

The victim who died was named Joey Sellers, police said. She lived just a few blocks away on Avenue K, authorities said.

The two girls and their 38-year-old mom were walking along Flatlands Ave. at about 4:40 p.m. when the 2005 Dodge Caravan lost control and careened into them, pinning one of the girls beneath its rear end.

“They weren’t moving, their eyes were closed … All their bones looked broken,” said Kareem Johnson, 26, a passerby who helped lift the van off the little victim.

The Dodge hit the mother, 12-year-old and a 9-year-old sister as they reached the middle of the block, cops said. It knocked down part of a chain-link fence before stopping with its wrecked front end atop a fire hydrant.

The gutless minivan driver, who police identified as 26-year-old Robert Decarlo, jumped out and ran down Schenectady Ave., cops and witnesses said.

Johnson and six others rushed to shift the crushing weight of the van to try and save the little girl under it.

“I don’t know where the strength came from, but as soon as we saw someone underneath, we moved the car,” Johnson said. “One of them was bleeding from the head. It was like a big hole in the head.”

His mother, Beverly Johnson, who lives near the accident site, said her car was smashed up as well. She ran outside after hearing a loud bang.

The man identified by cops as Decarlo was climbing out of his seat, she said.

“The other guys (on the scene) said, ‘He’s getting away, he’s getting away,’” she said.

But everyone was too focused on getting help for the two girls and their mom to chase the cowardly child killer, she said.

Paramedics took the three victims to Kings County Hospital, where the older girl died a short time later, police said.

The sister and mother were listed in critical condition.

Police were not pursuing the Dodge at the time of the crash, NYPD officials said.

Witness Stefano Girgenti, 63, was sitting across the street from where the wreck occurred. He said the van was screaming down Flatlands Ave.

“He was going 120 miles an hour … He lost control. It was crazy,” said Girgenti.

When the driver took off, Girgenti tried to follow, but he stopped when he saw one of the girls was trapped.

“When I saw the babies under the car, I wanted to help,” he said. “I don’t care about the guy.

“One of the babies was under the car. We pushed the car up. I take the baby out. I get blood all over my hands and I see the baby breathing, thank God,” he said.

His neighbor Shamar Brooks, 27, also jumped in to move the minivan.

The girl pinned under it had her eyes open but was unresponsive, he said.

“We didn’t know the girl was under (the minivan) until we lifted it up,” he said. “I feel sorry for the family.”

Police were searching for Decarlo, who remained at large Thursday morning. Cops ask anyone with information about his whereabouts to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). All calls are confidential.

With Laura Dimon

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