Nearly two dozen Good Samaritans rushed to rescue a woman and her two toddler grandchildren when they were run over by an elderly driver in a busy section of Brooklyn Friday afternoon, authorities and witnesses said.
The 77-year-old driver was backing up on Moore Street in Bushwick when he hit the grandmother, identified as Elizabeth Castillo, and the toddlers, who were in strollers, according to witnesses. The driver seemed to panic when he felt the impact and hit the gas pedal, further reversing the car up on the sidewalk and through a chain-link fence.
"You saw the carriages go straight underneath" the car, said witness Kim Miller.
Bystanders quickly rushed to the victims' aid and gathered around the car that had pinned Castillo and the children, 3-year-old Tyrese and 17-month-old Tashia.
"The babies were under there, so about 20 of us got together, lifted up the car and dragged everybody out," said Edwin Padua, one of the Good Samaritans.
"Everybody's voices came out, 'Lift the car up!'" said neighbor who gave his name as McRae. "We started proceeding to lift the car, and we got some of them out."
Castillo suffered a broken collarbone, and Tashia had a broken arm, according to family. Both children received cuts.
All three are in Bellevue Hospital in stable condition.
Tashia's father, who watched video of neighbors on the bustling block rushing to help, told NBC 4 New York he was touched by their heroism.
"I love them for doing that. I love them for doing that," he said.
The drivere told police he thought he'd stepped on the brake when he was reversing. But friends of the victims were angry.
"A person has a license, he's been driving for 20 years, he should have the decency to stop," said Tyrone Jackson, a family friend. "You should have the decency to check your car before you stick the key in the ignition."