Ryan LeoThe mother of a six-year-old boy who was fatally struck by a car on a busy Sydney road has said “in heaven there is no traffic, mummy loves you forever” in a moving tribute to her son.
Mother Zhen Zhen posted the message online after her son Ryan Leo was hit as he ran across a Hurstville road to get to his Taekwondo class on Monday afternoon.
Employees from nearby businesses tried desperately to revive the year one student as he lay in the middle of Durham Street, dressed in his white martial arts uniform with a yellow belt. Both of his shoes were later found on the road, metres from the tragic accident.
The road on which he was hit was described as a “dangerous” stretch by his martial arts headmaster, who had petitioned Hurstville City Council to address safety concerns before Ryan was struck.
Xiaomu Yang, whose son was Ryan’s best friend, said the Oatley Public School student was an intelligent and happy boy.
“He was a very bright, very open and lovely kid,” Ms Yang said.
She described him as “handsome” and “active” and said he could speak fluent English, Mandarin and Cantonese.
Ms Yang said she was shocked when she rang Ryan’s distressed mother, who could not manage to say anything except: “Ryan is gone”.
“She is very upset and said she is still waiting for the police report.”
She said Ryan and her son, Richard, had been inseparable since they met in kindergarten and she did not know how to explain the little boy’s death to her son.
“Richard cannot understand what [this] means. He just asked me why Ryan crossed [the] road by himself. He kept asking me the same question but I don’t know how to answer.”
Ryan’s aunt had driven him to his taekwondo class, Taekwondo World headmaster Incheol Yoo said. Ryan had been attending the class early last year and had recently progressed from a white belt to a yellow belt, he said.
The little boy’s parents had recently had another child, which was possibly why his aunt had driven him to class, Mr Yoo said.
Mr Yoo was teaching inside the Scout hall on Durham Street when Ryan was hit and did not see the crash, but he said a teenage student had witnessed it.
“He was a good boy, a lovely boy. It’s very sad,” Mr Yoo said of Ryan.
Mr Yoo has taught taekwondo at the same Scout hall for 24 years but said the recent construction of a large apartment complex, East Quarter, had made parking on Durham Street almost impossible to find.
He had sent a petition on behalf of parents and students to Hurstville City Council in May, calling for a pick-up and drop-off zone outside the Scout hall.
Mr Yoo received a response from the council that same month, saying the matter had been referred to the council’s senior traffic engineer for investigation.
Witnesses said the driver, a woman, screamed “Oh my god, how did this happen?” after the accident.
Dry cleaner Wafa Hage said the boy’s aunt was crying hysterically as people from nearby businesses tried to revive the child in the middle of Durham Street.
“I opened the door and saw the little boy on the ground. I hugged [the boy’s aunt] and gave her some water but she was screaming,” Mrs Hage said.
Mrs Hage’s husband, Hassan, said the boy was struck just outside his business and was not breathing when he came out to help about 4.40pm.
He said employees from Concept Funerals ran out of their building and rolled the boy on his side, before clearing his mouth and trying to revive him.
Mr Hage said it was a tragedy that would happen again if something was not done to improve road safety in the area.
“I’m worried it will happen again unless they do something. They need a crossing, anything.”
Hurstville City Council said it was a “tragic accident” but could not comment until a report for the coroner was completed.
“It should be noted that council received a petition in mid-May 2014 and council officers have prepared a report relating to parking issues on this street for council to consider at its meeting on August 6.”
Inspector Phil Brooks, from the Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, said the distressed driver of the vehicle that struck the boy immediately stopped and spoke to police and underwent mandatory testing in hospital.
However Inspector Brooks said neither speed nor alcohol were believed to be factors in the crash.
“We don’t believe that there has been any significant factors in this other than the child quite possibly crossing the road in the wrong place,” he said.
Ryan’s death is the latest in a string of pedestrian deaths, with 28 pedestrians killed on the roads this year. Five of those were aged under 18.
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