A boy, 6, was hit by a car outside a scout hall in Hurstville. He was on his way to a taekwondo class at the hall.
A martial arts school had petitioned Hurstville City Council for changes to what it described as "dangerous" traffic conditions outside its premises months before one of its young students was struck by a car and killed on Monday afternoon.
Six-year-old Ryan Leo was attempting to cross Durham Street in Hurstville about 4.40pm, just five minutes before his taekwondo class was due to begin at the Boys Scouts Club hall on the opposite side of the road, when he was struck by a car and suffered critical head and chest injuries.
Shocked witnesses from a nearby business initially performed CPR on Ryan, who was then taken by paramedics to St George Hospital, but he died several hours later from his injuries.
The scene of the accident.
Ryan's aunt had driven him to the class, which he had been attending since early last year, Taekwondo World headmaster Incheol Yoo said. Ryan had progressed from a white belt to a yellow belt, he said.
Ryan's parents have recently had another child, which is possibly why his aunt had driven him to the class, the headmaster said.
The aunt had parked on the opposite side of Durham Street and Ryan had got out of the car, walked to the front of the vehicle and stepped onto the road when he was struck, police said.
Mr Yoo was teaching inside the taekwondo school at the time and did not see the crash, but said another teenage student had witnessed it.
"He was a good boy, a lovely boy. It's very sad," Mr Yoo said of Ryan.
Mr Yoo has taught taekwondo at the same scout hall for the past 24 years, but he said the recent construction of a large apartment complex, East Quarter, had made parking on Durham Street almost impossible to find.
"They built a big apartment building and there's no parking spots at all. They [the children and their parents] can't see because there's always parking both sides. The street is very narrow and cars are going really fast," he said.
Mr Yoo sent a petition on behalf of parents and students of the taekwondo school to Hurstville City Council in May this year calling for a pick-up and drop-off zone to be installed outside the scout hall, which he said was used every weekday afternoon and evening by the taekwondo school or the Scouts.
The petition states: "The lack of parking now available on this road makes it very difficult for parents to safely drop off and pick up their children from the Scout Hall.
"Furthermore, once the children have been dropped off it is difficult for the parents to find parking, even for one hour."
The petition also called for one-hour parking zones to be introduced on one side of Durham Street.
Mr Yoo received a response from the council the same month saying the matter had been referred to the council's senior traffic engineer for investigation.
Winesses said the driver screamed "Oh my god, how did this happen?" after the accident.
Dry cleaner Wafa Hage said the little boy's aunt was crying hysterically as people from nearby businesses tried to revive him in the middle of Durham Street.
"I opened the door and saw the little boy on the ground. I hugged [the boy's aunt] and gave her some water but she was screaming," Mrs Hage said.
Mrs Hage's husband, Hassan, said the boy was struck just outside of his business and was not breathing when he came out to help.
He was wearing his white taekwondo uniform and his shoes were strewn on both sides of the road, several metres from where he was struck at 4.40pm.
He said employees from Concept Funerals ran out of their nearby premises and rolled the boy on his side, before clearing his mouth and tried to revive him.
Mr Hage said it was a tragedy that would happen again if something was not done to improve road safety in the area.
"I'm worried it will happen again unless they do something. They need a crossing, anything."
Hurstville City Council said in a statement that it is was aware there was a "tragic accident" at Durham Street on Monday afternoon.
"However, Council is unable to comment until the Coroner’s report is completed," the statement continues. "It should be noted that council received a petition in mid-May 2014 and council officers have prepared a report relating to parking issues on this street for council to consider at its meeting on August 6."
Inspector Phil Brooks, from the Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, said the distressed driver of the vehicle that struck the boy immediately stopped and spoke to police, and underwent mandatory testing in hospital.
However Inspector Brooks said speed or alcohol were not believed to be factors in the crash.
"We don't believe that there has been any significant factors in this other than the child quite possibly crossing the road in the wrong place," he said.
"Certainly this is a very significant reminder when children are crossing the road, they need to do it supervised. We prefer that parents hold a child's hand and guide them across the road.
"We know that young children in particular can be unpredictable and easily startled and run across a road, however in this case it seems the child was crossing the road for the benefit of going to the local sporting event and was tragically struck by the vehicle."
Ryan's death is the latest in a string of pedestrian deaths, with 28 pedestrians killed on the roads this year. Five of those were aged under 18.
Acting Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith, from the Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, made an impassioned plea for parents to talk to their children about road safety.
"The impact of a crash on everyone who is linked to it resonates well after headlines have faded," he said.
"After a series of similar events earlier in the year, I would hope anyone with children in their lives would use this an opportunity to talk about road safety with them.
"As a parent, I would plead with everyone that if they are with young children near a roadway always keep holding their hand.
"To drivers, particularly if you are passing residential areas, do be mindful children may be about."
Police said inquiries into the crash were continuing.