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Grief For Family Of Boy Struck, Killed Crossing Rt 208 In Rain, Dark, For Officer Driving

At the crash scene on Route 208 in Fair Lawn.
At the crash scene on Route 208 in Fair Lawn. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine

UPDATE: It's an unimaginable tragedy all around -- for the family of a 12-year-old boy who inexplicably tried crossing the Route 208 median in Fair Lawn with his older brother in the rainy darkness, as well as for the highly-respected Bergen County sheriff's officer whose vehicle struck and killed the youngster.

Christian Tawadros, who was in a special education program at the Thomas Jefferson Middle School, had joined his 7th-grade brother and two friends to go out to eat, a source with direct knowledge of the incident said.

The older boy "took Christian everywhere with him," the person said, adding that the group "made the wrong decision to cross 208 in the rain" just after 9 p.m. Sunday.

Neither Christian's brother nor any of the others was hit, authorities said.

Although schools are closed for vacation, counseling was being provided to any student or staffer from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Jefferson School.

Support will also be available when classes resume April 22 at all of Fair Lawn's public schools, officials said.

“As a father, this is the unthinkable," Fair Lawn Schools Supt. Nick Norcia said. "My heart goes out to the family,”

Also hurting is Sheriff's Officer Michael Sansevere, who someone with direct knowledge said is "beside himself with grief."

"A great guy, good officer," a colleague said.

Sansevere, who's been with the sheriff's office the past 12 years, officially became a K-9 officer -- with partner "Jax" -- in May 2017.

He was headed south on routine patrol Sunday night when his 2010 Chevy Tahoe struck Christian, who was pronounced dead at the scene moments later, Acting Bergen County Prosecutor Dennis Calo said.

Surveillance video shows Sansevere slowing down for what appeared to be three shadowy figures -- Christian's brother and his friends -- off the roadway.

"He never expected a thing," a colleague said, "and now he has to carry what was a pure tragedy."

"People say it often, but it's so true in this case: This couldn't have happened to a better guy," another officer said. "He was being careful, slowing down and then, just like that, the kid comes of nowhere."

Sansevere was brought to Hackensack University Medical Center and was later released after being evaluated.

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