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Young Traffic Accident Victim Laid To Rest

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

The young boy struck and killed by a garbage truck at a busy Albany intersection was laid to rest Friday at a Muslim cemetery in Rensselaer County.

It happened in the blink of an eye: a 4-year-old identified as Ashique Rahman was crossing Central Avenue with his mother, who was holding his hand. Police say they have the surveillance video showing the moment a private garbage truck turning left on a green light, onto Central from Quail Street, hit the pair, who had the right-of-way and clearance to cross from the "Walk" signal.

As of Friday afternoon, no charges have been filed against the driver of the ICS waste and recycling truck. Albany police spokesman Steve Smith says there are no updates in the investigation.

The intersection, one of Albany's most dangerous by the city's own admission, was transformed Friday morning:   A "makeshift memorial" erected Thursday evening at the northwest corner of the intersection was gone, as were the snow banks that have impaired pedestrian traffic after recent snowstorms. Although a statement from ICS issued in the hours after the incident said a child “had jumped over a snowbank and out into the road without warning,” police said that’s not what the surveillance video shows.

Albany Police parked cars with light bars flashing as officers escorted pedestrians during the Friday morning rush hour.  A spokesman said they were there to support the community.

A funeral service for Rahman was held following afternoon prayers at  Masjid As-Salaam Mosque, about a half a block away from the intersection where the boy was hit, steps from WAMC’s studios.

Mosque president Dr. Shamshad Ahmad says the family is originally from Bangladesh and has ties to the Gahndi Restaurant on 1 Central Avenue.  "...and lives on a street behind the mosque. The child used to come to the mosque, he used to play here with other kids, and we have sometimes Sunday school type of thing to give some instruction to children, he used to participate, he was one of the youngest ones."

A visibly shaken Mayor Kathy Sheehan attended the prayer service and comforted the boy's grieving father. "I expressed both my sympathy and the sympathy of all of the residents of the City of Albany and of the Capital Region."

The child's body was interred according to custom at Albany Muslim Cemetery in Wynantskill, laid in the grave on his side, facing Mecca.

Family members told reporters they were very upset over the "kid jumped over the snowbank" tale told by the trucking company.   A family friend said something needs to be done to prevent another tragedy on city streets.   "We need help for schooltime particularly for this kind, this area, particularly Central Avenue."

Central Ave., a busy four-lane stretch of Route 5, has seen numerous pedestrian fatalities and in injuries, and the intersection with Quail is on the list for Albany’s pilot red light camera program.

Friday afternoon, a city worker was spotted tinkering with the walk signals. Smith explained that activity is "routine procedure to make sure the signals are functioning correctly" after an incident.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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