BROCKTON — A boy celebrating his 12th birthday by trying out his new roller blades was struck and killed by a truck Thursday afternoon, said officials, witnesses, and a friend of the child.
“He was a very good kid,” Beverly Beato, 14, said as she stood at the corner of Battles and Richmond streets, outside a barrier of crime scene tape. The boy’s body lay about 100 yards away, obscured by a white sheet.
The roller blades, she said, were a birthday present from his family. “He was trying them out,” Beato said.
Nazair Nunes-Escobar of Brockton was struck at about 2:20 p.m. in front of 35 Battles St., said Jessica Healy, assistant Plymouth district attorney.
“The driver stayed on the scene,” she said. “There are no charges at this time.”
Beato said Nunes-Escobar lived next door and doted on his little sister.
“We went a lot of places together,” she said, tears in her eyes. “We went to the lake, to the pool. We used to always play outside.”
On Thursday afternoon, state troopers at the scene were examining a large commercial scrap truck bearing the insignia of M.J. Cimildoro Trucking in Hanover and Spiegel Scrap Metal. Representatives of the companies could not be reached for comment.
“Terrible event,” Plymouth District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz said at the scene. “Exactly what happened, we’ll have to wait and find out.”
About 40 people gathered at the scene of the crash for a candlelight vigil on Thursday night.
Standing before a makeshift memorial of candles, stuffed animals, and a balloon that said “Birthday Boy,” some mourners hugged one another and wept, while others stood solemnly in silence.
Residents of the street lined with two- and three-story homes were shaken by the boy’s death. Brockton police Captain Leon McCabe said it is not a street that often has problems with speeding, though at least one resident said cars and trucks often drive through a stop sign at the end of the road.
One woman who lives on the street said she had just parked her car behind her home at about 2 p.m. and was talking on the phone outside when she heard a boy repeatedly screaming, “Is he dead?.”
The woman, who declined to give her name, said she ran out to Battles Street and saw the boy’s body lying there. She knew immediately that he was dead, she said. He was wearing roller blades, she added.
“I was shocked to see what I saw,” the woman said.
She said there was another boy standing in the road screaming “No” and “Is he dead?” She did not see a truck, but said she was in shock and began screaming for someone to call 911.
Another resident of the street, who also declined to give her name, said that after the accident she saw a police officer standing on the corner of Battles Street with the young friend of Nunes-Escobar.
“My heart went out to him,” said the woman. “He came over and sat in my lap. I talked to him and tried to make him feel better.”
The boy, who the woman estimated was between 7 and 9 years old, told her that Nunes-Escobar was playing along the curb of the street, and lost his balance just as the truck drove past, and he fell into it.
The little boy who sat in her lap was very upset, she said, and kept saying that he and his friend were not supposed to be on Battles Street.
Mourners standing outside Nunes-Escobar’s residence in the Roosevelt Heights apartment complex Thursday evening said his family was too distraught to speak to a reporter.
Quame St. Louis, 13, a friend of the boy, remembered him outside the apartment as a “good kid” who excelled at basketball.
“I prayed about him earlier, and I’m sad that he’s gone,” he said.
St. Louis added that he was having a difficult time processing his friend’s death.
“My reaction is up and down in my body,” St. Louis said. “It’s just weird, just to see him gone.”