Ramapo Town Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence and Police Chief Peter Brower both described the actions of Paramedic Jacob Goldmunzer as “absolutely heroic” in saving a young girl’s life on Monday afternoon. They credited him with performing life saving measures that revived a nine-year-old girl who was not breathing and did not have a pulse after being hit by a van that jumped a curb. Goldmunzer, who arrived minutes after the accident, performed triage on all five victims hit by the vehicle.
“The paramedics were able to have all five victims worked upon and transported from the scene within 10 minutes of their arrival,” said St. Lawrence. “They were able to get to Westchester Medical Center at 4:20 and performed life saving services in the vehicles especially on the girl that was most critical.”
The five girls, three of who are related, were playing on the lawn in front of a house on Bush Avenue in New Square just before 4 p.m. Four of the girls are nine years old and one is seven years old.
“The girls were playing their driveway right at the scene,” said St. Lawrence.
Three of the girls were taken in separate ambulances to Westchester Medical Center and two, who were ambulatory, were transported to Nyack Hospital. Two of the girls were admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at Westchester Medical and one was expected to be released possibly Monday night. St. Lawrence would not go into details about the injuries suffered by the most seriously hurt girl.
One of the girls taken to Nyack Hospital was also being released said St. Lawrence, during the Monday evening press conference, and the other at that hospital was expected to be released.
The girls suffered a head injury, broken bones and lacerations. Two of the girls are sisters and a third one is a cousin of theirs. The initial 911 call came from the driver of the van.
“I believe the driver made the first call to 911 himself,” said St. Lawrence.
Police were still questioning the van driver, 42-year-old Rachid Elasri of Spring Valley, on Monday evening. No charges had been filed against Elasri.
“The cause of the accident is still under investigation,” said Brower. “It doesn’t look like alcohol or drugs is involved. The driver of the vehicle is in the station now being interviewed by our accident investigation team.”
The 2002 white Ford van owned by Elasri’s employer Five Star Medical Supplies of Monsey was impounded and taken by police to a New York State Inspection Station. The Sheriff’s BCI Unit is working with Ramapo Police on the investigation.
The driver’s cell phone was taken as part of the investigation. No skid marks were found on the street. Video surveillance cameras on the street were being checked for footage of the accident.
“The driver was very cooperative,” said Brower.
The van apparently jumped the curb, hit the girls and then crashed into a 7,000 -volt power box in front of the house, which caused it to stop. The box did not electrify the vehicle because it was touching a tire. Orange & Rockland Utilities turned off power to the surrounding area.
Emergency services responders included the New Square Ambulance Corps, which took two victims to Westchester Medical Center; Hatzoloh Ambulance Corps of Monsey, which took one injured girl to Westchester Medical and Spring Hill Ambulance Corps, which transported two victims to Nyack Hospital. Rockland Paramedics and the Hillcrest Fire Department were also at the scene.