Several media sources are reporting that a seven-year old boy has died after falling under an ice cream truck.
The victim, who has not been publicly identified, was reportedly riding a motorcycle-style e-bike when he fell under the rear wheels of the truck.
According to KABC-7, he was riding next to the slow moving truck, and possibly holding on to it, before falling for an unknown reason. The LA Times reports that police consider it an “unfortunate accident,” though the investigation is still ongoing.
He was taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center with life-threatening injuries, but died at 9:15 pm after emergency surgery.
However, in a report on KNBC-4, which is not available online as of this writing, a man identified as the victim’s uncle said the boy was walking his bike next to the truck, rather than riding, in an attempt to catch up to his older brother. And that the truck had been traveling too fast for the neighborhood street.
To make matters worse, the driver suffered minor injuries after he and his truck were attacked by people in the area who threw bricks at the truck and threatened him with a knife.
According to the man claiming to be the victim’s uncle, the attackers included the boy’s mother.
This is the 74th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 29th in the County of Los Angeles; it’s also the 10th in the City of LA.
Update: The victim has been identified as Jamarion Thomas. Meanwhile, the Times reports that family members dispute the version of events given by the police, as noted above, insisting that he was walking his bike and was too small to hold onto the truck, even if he wanted to.
Update: As this story has developed, it has become clear that Jamarion Thomas was not riding or walking a bicycle when he was killed, since his bike didn’t have pedals. Instead, it was a toy motorcycle powered by a battery.
This does not make his death any less tragic, but it does mean it does not belong among the statistics for bicycling fatalities.
As a result, I have removed his name from this year’s total. That returns the number of SoCal bicycling fatalities to 73 for this year, with 28 in LA County and the 9th in the City of Los Angeles.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for Jamarion Thomas and his family.