Family and friends mourn three-year-old toddler; man charged with his murder on Lyell Ave

Friends and family gathered at a memorial for Amir in the driveway where he was struck. (WHAM photo)

Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - A family devastated and stricken with grief over the senseless loss of three-year-old Amir Pallet.

"We're going to keep him in our hearts. We're going to keep him in our hearts," said Amir’s father.

Rochester Police said a car intentionally veered off Lyell Avenue Saturday around 7:30 p.m., and drove onto the lawn hitting Amir and Abriel Fair, 23, who is expected to be okay.

Sunday, friends and family gathered at a memorial for Amir in the driveway where he was struck.

"He was a happy baby. He always used to be happy,” said neighbor India Muniz. "It's hard. It's real hard.”

Alphonzo Snow, 12, lives across the street.

"It's just sad to just see how his life just went by in a flash," said Snow.

In front of the house on Lyell Avenue where Amir was hit, candles spelled out, "We love you Marshy" - a nickname from family members who said he looked like a little marshmallow.

Snow remembers playing with him and his siblings.

"He used to ride his bike all the time near the sidewalk, and we used to play,” said Snow. “We even made up a secret handshake."

Snow saw the crash unfold.

“As soon as I heard the car screech, I came running and that's when I just seen it all happen before my eyes," Snow said.

Snow said the car drove up onto the front yard into the home's porch before taking off.

"They flew and hit the floor,” he said. “Then the next thing I saw was a dirt pile over there and one more car."

Less than two miles away, police said the same car that hit Amir violently crashed into another vehicle on Lake Avenue. Everyone involved in this crash was sent to the hospital, including a 13-year-old boy.

Police said Frank Cassata, 48, was behind the wheel. He's now facing a litany of charges including 2nd degree murder, vehicular manslaughter and DWI.

Two crashes that took minutes to happen have now changed a family's life forever.

"There's no words I can say, so they can feel better,” said Muniz. “I hope God gives them the strength that they deserve."

Cassata, a Mt. Morris resident, is being held in the Monroe County Jail without bail. He'll be arraigned in Rochester City Court Monday, June 4 at 9:30 a.m.

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