A woman died Thursday evening, hours after being struck by a pick-up truck accidentally put into motion by a 13-year-old boy who hit the gas pedal.
Ruilan Zeng, 61, died at Mt. Sinai Hospital, officials said.
She was tending special Chinese vegetables in her neighbor's garden when the vehicle plowed over her, into a garage and into a brick wall before finally coming to rest on the 4400 block of South St. Louis Avenue.
Police said the truck's driver, a man, got out of the vehicle to collect scrap metal in the alley and his son slid over into the driver's seat, police said. The 13-year-old accidentally hit the gear shift and the accelerator, authorities said.
Neighbors Roger Cardena and his wife heard the commotion and rushed to the scene.
"We heard a big bang and thought it was either thunder or lightning. It woke us up," Cardena said. "It looked like her arms were broken and possibly her leg."
Neighbors say they frequently saw Zeng taking walks in the neighborhood, and that the accident happened around the corner from her own home.
"I thought the lady was dead because I came running and the lady couldn't move at first, and I got scared," neighbor Camilo Pacias said.
The father of the 13-year-old boy could faces charges of leaving an unattended vehicle and driving on a suspended license.