It happened at around 2 a.m. as a 22-year-old driver lost control coming off of the Manhattan Bridge, striking a light pole and fire hydrant at Bowery and Canal Street. The car flipped over and the impact sent the fire hydrant flying across the street.
17-year-old Shareef Bellerand was trapped in the front passenger seat. It took firefighters about 20 minutes to get him out of the car. The Brooklyn resident was rushed to Lower Manhattan Hospital, where he died. The driver is at Bellevue Hospital in stable condition.
The driver may face drunk driving and speeding charges.
UPDATE 4:01 p.m. The driver has been identified as 22-year-old Gerald Joseph. He has been charged with DWI. Channel 7 spoke withCindy Fabien, Bellerand’s mother:
Fabien said Bellerand had spent the first part of Christmas with her and then left to celebrate with his father in New Jersey. Fabien said her son surprised her, returning from his father’s briefly just before 1 a.m., after he said he’d dropped off his uncle’s mother-in-law with Joseph. “I said, ‘Shareef, your dad don’t like you being with this guy,’ and he said, ‘He’s OK,’ and I said, ‘You sure?’ and he said, ‘Yes Ma, and I’m OK,” Fabien said. She said the two joked about some Beats headphones he still wanted and she implored him to get back safe. That was the last time she says she spoke to him… Fabien described Bellerand, her first born, as someone who loved life, was well-behaved and looking forward to turning 18 in a couple of weeks. “He was a good kid. I never had problems, not one day,” Fabien said. “Right now I’m trying to be strong but I know it’s going to hit me later on that he’s really gone, he’s not here,” said Fabien.