Community in Mourning After Hit-and-Run Incident Takes Life of 16-Year-Old, Injures 8-Year-Old Sister

Last Day of School Tragedy

By Mohamed Farghaly |

A tragic collision that occurred across the street from Woodside Intermediate School IS
125 has left a 16-year-old girl dead and her 8-year-old sister critically injured, stirring a
community and prompting an ongoing investigation into the incident.

The incident occurred on June 26 around 3:30 p.m. at the intersection of 47th Avenue and
46th Street. Jael Zhinin and her younger sister Leslie were in the south crosswalk when a
2016 Ford water delivery truck, turning left from westbound 47th Avenue onto
southbound 46th Street, struck them. Jael was tragically run over by the vehicle as it
drove away, while Leslie suffered critical injuries.

Police from the 108th Precinct quickly located the truck and apprehended the 28-year-old
driver a block away at the intersection of 46th Street and 48th Avenue.
Emergency Medical Services pronounced Jael dead at the scene, while Leslie was rushed
to New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center where she remains in critical
but stable condition.

The heartbreaking incident occurred on the last day of school, casting a shadow over
what should have been a celebratory time for the Zhinin family. Community members
have rallied to support the family, setting up funds to cover funeral expenses for Jael and
support Leslie’s ongoing medical needs. The loss of Jael Zhinin has left her family
devastated, with the community mourning the untimely passing of a young life full of

Justin Castillo, a recent graduate from I.S. 125, recounted the harrowing scene he
witnessed following the tragic accident. Arriving at the intersection shortly after the
incident, Castillo described seeing police setting up and the body already covered.
Shocked bystanders gathered, some taking photos of the police cars and yellow tape,
which he admitted he did himself to share with family and friends, though he found it

difficult. Initially thinking it was a playful scream, Castillo learned it was a hit-and-run, a
revelation that deeply affected him and others at the school. He recalled seeing the
mother and grandmother arrive, the mother visibly distraught and attempting to appear
strong despite the obvious pain in her eyes.

“The Mother tried to act strong, but you could just see it in her eyes that she had lost a
part of herself, and she looked lost without her daughter,” Castillo said.
Castillo stayed until late afternoon, witnessing the heartbreaking scene unfold as
emergency services attended to the aftermath.

In the wake of Jael Zhinin’s tragic passing and the critical injuries suffered by her sister
Leslie, the Zhinin family is grappling with an unimaginable loss compounded by
overwhelming financial obligations. Medical bills, funeral arrangements, and unforeseen
expenses weigh heavily on them during this difficult time. Any contribution to their
GoFundMe campaign will directly assist with funeral costs for Jael and support Leslie’s
ongoing medical treatment and recovery at

“Your contribution will directly support Jael’s family with funeral expenses and assist in
Leslie’s ongoing medical care and recovery,” stated in the GoFundMe. “Every donation,
no matter the amount, will make a meaningful difference in the lives of those affected by
this tragedy.”

Details surrounding the circumstances of the collision, including whether the driver had
the right of way and if his view was obstructed by the sun, are being carefully scrutinized
as authorities work to determine the full sequence of events leading to the tragedy.


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