FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBS) — A 10-year-old boy died after he was struck by a police car Sunday night in Gloucester County, New Jersey.
The incident happened around 7 p.m. at Delsea Drive and Paul Street in Franklin Township.
Authorities say the driver, identified as Ptl. Nicholas Locilento of the Franklin Township Police Department, was responding to a call.
Witnesses say the 10-year-old was heading to a sleepover with some friends and was struck crossing the street after one of his friends made it across the street safely.
The victim, identified by police as Matthew McCloskey, was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to the grandmothers of the two boys who were hosting McCloskey for the sleepover, the children were checking out a light display on Elmer Street and asked the parents if they could walk home.
The Bruniers say they were just a little behind their sons and McCloskey in their truck when the accident happened.
No other children were hurt.
“They’re distraught, they’re beside themselves. That little boy was in his care and he feels horrible,” says neighbor Toni DeMarco who is close friends with the Bruniers.
“Best kid in the world. Just wondering why things like this happen. He was a baby,” Diane Hires told Eyewitness News.
Hires’ two grandsons were with McCloskey when he died.
“My heart breaks,” she said.
“My two grandsons are devastated,” she told Eyewitness News.
Ptl. Locilento was taken to the hospital for evaluation. He was the only person in the cruiser at the time of the accident.
Officials in Franklin Township released a statement regarding the accident that reads in part:
“First and foremost our thoughts and prayers go out to the McCloskey family that tragically lost their son. Whenever a young life is lost like this it is tragic for everyone, his family and our community,
While this is very difficult for the young boy’s family it is also very difficult for that police officer involved. It is our understanding that the officer was responding to an urgent call when this accident happened and we support the officer who was involved in this. He is very shaken up by being involved in this incident and we are supporting him in this difficult time.”
McCloskey is a 5th grader at Reutter Elementary School. Franklin Township Schools will open Reutter from 9 to 11:30 am on Wednesday, December 31 with grief counselors.
“We dropped off flowers and reached out just to let them know that we’re thinking about them and that we’re here for them. It’s a tragic event for the entire community,” says superintendent Troy Walton.
An autopsy will be performed on the victim Monday.
The crash is under investigation.
Family friends have set up a website to help with funeral expenses: http://www.youcaring.com/memorial-fundraiser/matthew-mccloskey-memorial-fund/283963
The Matthew McCloskey Fund at TD Bank has also been established for donations.
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