Mother shares agony over crash with Assemblyman Gantt; Mayor 'ashamed' at coverage

June 06, 2019 06:12 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) -- They survived a violent crash involving Assemblyman David Gantt. Now, the mother of the children who were hurt is talking exclusively with News10NBC. 

On Thursday morning, Katia Velez described what it was like to be in the van when it was hit. 


On Thursday afternoon, Mayor Lovely Warren criticized the reporting News10NBC has been doing since the accident happened one week ago. 

Katia says it was like slow motion.

She and three of her children were in the white van that was hit last Thursday on Central Park. 

"I remember me climbing from the first seat to the back trying to cover my kids," she said. 

Katia says this security camera video, obtained exclusively by News10NBC, shows her seven-year-old son, Joandiel Carrion, was almost thrown out the side window of the van. He has 19 stitches above his eyes and in his mouth. 

"This was my son's life," she said. "If you see the video my son comes out and back into the car."

Katia says her children were wearing seat belts. Rochester Police gave Assemblyman Gantt a ticket for rolling through a stop sign. The police report says he was "distracted" but police don't say what the distraction was. 

Mayor Warren considers Assemblyman Gantt like a father figure and said he has supported her personally and professionally. At School 5 Thursday, Mayor Warren looked at News10NBC and said she is disappointed that an accident turned into this.  

Mayor Lovely Warren: "And it's taken this turn because of people like you. And it's very, very sad. It's sad because it didn't have to happen."

Mayor Lovely Warren: "And so for anyone, for anyone to take this opportunity to try to demean and try to make it into something that it's not, you need to be ashamed of yourself. And I am ashamed for you."

News10NBC Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean: "Mayor, are you talking about me personally or reporters?"

The mayor didn't clarify. 

Watch below for the entire comment from Mayor Warren. 

Katia was distraught on the Rochester Police body camera video we obtained Wednesday. And one week later, she still can't stop crying. 

"Just looking at my son, seeing those scars that he didn't have is just frustrating," Katia said. "It gets me... I'm just not happy with this. I'm not."

The driver of the van got a ticket for driving without a license and not wearing a seat belt. The driver was Katia's niece.

Katia says she got a visit from child protective service because, while her children were in seat belts, they were not in car seats. 

She says CPS told her she would get in trouble if her son didn't get back to school. So News10NBC called the city school district to try to get the principal and social worker to come and visit her at home. 


Berkeley Brean

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