Accident that kills boy unites, devastates Niles neighborhood

A small memorial of toys, dolls and religious symbols were placed on a sidewalk near where 6-year-old boy was hit Sunday afternoon as he was chasing a dog into the street on Robbins Avenue in Niles. Neighbors raced into the street in hopes of reviving the child.

NILES — Katie Zook, 9, was playing in her yard on Higley Avenue around 6:15 p.m. Sunday when she looked up and saw a dog running across Robbins Avenue.

A second later, Katie saw a boy chasing after the dog, and saw the boy get hit by a large car.

Katie ran back to her house to get her mother, Jackie Zook.

Jackie Zook, who is trained in CPR, ran out of the house to see what she could do to help.

“The boy’s mother already was over him doing chest compressions,” Zook said.

Zook described joining the frantic mother and more than a dozen others who were doing what they could to help before an ambulance and police arrived.

“It did not seem like he was breathing,” Zook said. “But I could feel his heart beat. I could feel a pulse.”

Zook said it seemed like it was taking forever for police and rescue workers to arrive, but she was later told by her husband it was really only a few moments.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol, which is conducting the investigation of the accident, noted in a news release that Isaiah Issa, 6, of Niles, was struck by a GMC Envoy being driven by Jeffrey L. Fleck of Niles, who was traveling west. Isaiah was initially taken to St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital, but later flown to Akron Children’s Hospital, where he died Monday.

Ashley Kristanc, a clerk at Cottage Market, 2318 Robbins Ave., did not see the accident, but said about 20 people who live in the area around the store came out to help.

Kristanc watched as the boy’s family gathered around him.

“I felt bad for his siblings,” Kristanc said. “I overheard one saying she had been mean to her brother earlier that day. It was heartbreaking because it is something she’ll likely remember for the rest of her life.”

Kristanc described the vehicle’s driver as distraught.

Matt Keeran, who lives two houses west of the accident site, said Fleck was sitting on the curb near the house with his face on his hands.

“He was shaken,” Keeran said. “No one expects something like this to happen.”

Mark Bionci, who was in his house sits across from where the boy was hit, said he heard his wife screaming upstairs in the moments after the accident.

He looked out the front door and saw people gathering around the boy.

“I cannot describe how terrible I feel,” Bionci said. “I have a daughter about the same age as the boy. My heart aches for his family.”

Because the family had just moved into 2011 Robbins Ave., Bionci said they did not get to know them.

“We put a cross at the memorial site,” Bionci said. “We’re praying for the family.”

Ed West, manager of Kustom Klassics, 2308 Robbins Ave., said people began placing stuffed animals and other items near his driveway shortly after it was announced the child had died.

“It is so sad,” West said.