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June 19, 2019

Family plans $10M suit after MTA bus hits, kills Bronx 7-year-old

May 30, 2018
Tiffani Brock, 7-year-old Shavone Bethea’s aunt, talks to the Daily News about her nephew as the family prepares to file a notice of claim against the city. (Jesse Ward/for New York Daily News)

The family of a 7-year-old boy fatally struck by a city bus in the Bronx plans to sue the MTA for $10 million, their lawyer said Tuesday.

Shavone Bethea Jr. was zipping along Webster Ave. near E. 184th St. on a Razor scooter Saturday when he shot out into the path of the BX41 bus, which struck him dead.

The bus driver was negligent, according to a notice of claim filed by Sanford Rubenstein, the lawyer representing the family. He said that makes the transit agency liable for the child’s death.

Police said the driver had a green light. They also said the roadway is steep and Shavone may have picked up speed before entering the intersection.

“That was my baby. My last, and my baby,” his mother, Nickya Bethea, 30, a model and singer, said in the lawyer’s office on Tuesday.

“He was loving, he was caring,” she said. “He’d always try to find ways to make me happy.”

Shavone, who everyone called “Vonne,” loved Spider-Man, dancing and his mother’s Caribbean meals.

On Saturday, the boy was hanging out with his older brother, Dishawn, 10, and father, Shavone Bethea Sr. on their way to meet his aunt for a cookout in the park when the accident happened.

The aunt, Tiffani Brock, 32, lives on Webster Ave., near the crash scene. As she waited for her brother, she suddenly heard horrible wailing outside.

“I looked out the window and saw a little boy on the ground,” Brock said.

She had a sickening feeling she was looking at her nephew and she dashed downstairs as fast as she could.

“I got in the elevator, and I heard my brother screaming,” she said tearfully. She remembered a chilling “hurt in his voice.”

Shavone was riding a scooter through the Bronx when a city bus fatally struck him.
Shavone was riding a scooter through the Bronx when a city bus fatally struck him. (Obtained by Daily News)

Brock, a mother of two, frantically bolted outside and, upon recognizing the tiny body on the pavement, instinctively went to scoop him up. But someone stopped her, saying “Don’t touch him, Miss. Don’t touch him.”

“There’s blood everywhere, and I’m just screaming,” Brock said.

Bethea sobbed as Brock recounted the heartbreaking scene.

Dishawn had been right behind his brother and said the driver ran the light. The grief- and horror-stricken brother is also in deep pain over agreeing to share his scooter with Shavone.

Little Shavone’s father, 32, was running down the hill behind the boys with a 1-year-old son.

“We chased him, my foot is still messed up, but I had the stroller,” he lamented.

“And my other son had to see that. And that’ll stay in his head.”

“Forever,” his sister added.

The dad said his boy’s death has hit him hard.

“No one can compare to him. That’s my first-born. I waited 27 years to have him,” Bethea said.

His mom recalled “Vonne” as a remarkable child and human being.

Nickya and Shavone Bethea, the boy's parents, are preparing to file an eight-figure lawsuit against the city transit authority.
Nickya and Shavone Bethea, the boy’s parents, are preparing to file an eight-figure lawsuit against the city transit authority. (Jesse Ward/for New York Daily News)

She said the first-grader sometimes picked flowers for her on his way home from school. On one weekend when money was particularly tight, he sold old books on the street.

“He sold all the books. And when he felt like (it) wasn’t enough, he went back downstairs to church,” she said.

“He told them ‘My mommy don’t have nothing,’ ” she said, choking back tears. The church gave him pictures to sell on the corner for $2 each.

“That weekend he made $70,” she said. “All by himself.”

Nickya Bethea bought groceries and cooked chicken and rice. She said they had a great weekend.

Shavone had an “unbreakable bond” with his elder three siblings, Dishawn, Shania, 12, and Jada, 10, his mom said.

“He was my biggest supporter. He made me feel beautiful,” said Nickya Bethea.”He was the light of my family. I can’t believe he’s really gone. It feels like a nightmare.”

Medics rushed Shavone to Saint Barnabas Medical Center as Brock Tiffani called Nickya Bethea and told her to get to the hospital as fast as possible. But Shavone had already died.

“A mother’s worst nightmare has become reality for this mother,” Rubenstein said. “We will be conducting an independent investigation with regard to the occurrence and we will be filing a notice of claim for wrongful death as well as the emotional distress of his brother, who was there when this horrific accident occurred,” Rubenstein said.

MTA spokesman Shams Tarek declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.

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