Brooklyn Bar Mitzvah Boy Samuel Cohen-Eckstein Killed in Tragic Accident

Crushed by Van as He Chased Soccer Ball Near Prospect Park


By Maya Shwayder

Published October 10, 2013.
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A 12-year-old Brooklyn boy was struck by a van and killed on Tuesday evening while chasing a soccer ball outside his home near Prospect Park, police said.

Popular eighth-grader Samuel Cohen-Ecktein, 12, was crushed when he ran into Prospect Park West Tuesday night.

Cohen-Eckstein was hit by an oncoming 2006 white Chevrolet van, and was crushed by its back tires, the Daily News reported. He sustained severe trauma to the torso and was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at Methodist Hospital.

The driver was questioned by police, but was not arrested. His name has not been released. A source told the Daily News the driver did not break any traffic laws. The NYPD said the investigation was ongoing.

A police spokesman told the Forward that Cohen-Eckstein was chasing a ball when he was killed. Lisa B. Segal, a cantor at Kolot Chayeinu synagogue, disputed that account, claiming that he carefully crossed the road after stopping to look for oncoming traffic.

“Sammy” Cohen-Eckstein was due to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah on November 16 at the Kolot Chayeinu congregation in Park Slope, a progressive synagogue, with a party to follow that evening in Williamsburg.

Gary Eckstein and Amy Cohen, parents of Sammy, had spoken in the past at community board meetings and to reporters about traffic safety laws and the need for better bike lanes.

At the leafy intersection where Eckstein-Cohen was hit, a small memorial cropped up overnight, attached to the two police barriers at the entrance to the park at Prospect Park West and Third street. The family’s apartment building stands just opposite the entrance.


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