CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Kevin Mendola, 37, of Stevenson Street in Buffalo has been arrested and charged after allegedly leaving scene of an accident that left 10-year-old Mikey Conklin dead.
According to District Attorney John Flynn, Mendola was in Griffith Park with his girlfriend and her son Wednesday afternoon. Flynn said the son told Mendola two girls shot him with a BB gun and he and Mendola drove around to find them. Flynn said they found the girls and a crowd formed near the park.
He said Mendola tried to get out of traffic and backed up into Conklin who was standing next to his bike. He said Mendola then pulled forward and ran over the boy again. Flynn noted Mendola got out to assist Conklin but then drove away. Police caught him a mile away.
Cheektowaga Police said Mendola has been charged with two felonies: leaving the scene of an incident resulting in death and criminally negligent homicide.
Flynn said what Mendola knew after backing up is key to whether the second charge gets upgraded to second degree manslaughter.
“In my mind, I’m looking at whether or not it was reckless, I have no reason to believe he intentionally ran the kid over,” Flynn said. “You hit something when you back up, is it reckless now to pull forward? Most people would say probably yes.”
Dale Hanson said he and his brother were close from the day Mikey was born. “There is nothing in this world that will ever replace the smile, the joy, everything that boy meant to us and our community,” Hanson said.
Hanson said he wants his brother back but knows this situation will raise awareness.
“I ask everybody in Buffalo to hold your children tight and I pray nothing like this happens again.”
The investigation into the incident is ongoing.
Mendola was arraigned on Friday morning, and his bail was set to $50,000. He’ll be back in court on Tuesday for a felony hearing.
If convicted, Mendola could spend up to seven years in prison.
Police ask anyone who may have witnessed what happened to call the Cheektowaga Police Accident Investigation Unit at (716) 686-3580.
The family set up a GoFundMe to cover funeral expenses. They will also be holding a candlelight vigil to honor Conklin Saturday evening in Griffith Park. Everyone is welcome.
UPDATE – 10:30 a.m:
The child died on Wednesday evening as a result of his injuries. His name will not be released.
Police say the driver involved is cooperating with the investigation. Charges are pending.
CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) — A 10-year-old boy is in serious condition after he was hit while riding his bicycle in Cheektowaga Wednesday afternoon.
The 10-year-old was hit while he was riding his bike on Lovejoy Street near Griffith Park. Cheektowaga Police, Sloan Fire and AMR all responded and rushed the boy to Oishei Children’s Hospital.
The accident is under investigation by the Cheektowaga Police Accident Investigation Unit.
There’s no word on the status of the driver or if charges have been filed.
Anyone with information about the accident is asked to call Cheektowaga Police at (716) 686-3580.