Police are investigating whether an argument over the purchasing of vapes was the reason why a teenager was left with “catastrophic” head injuries after being hit by a car in Sydney’s northwest.
Just before 10.30pm on Monday, emergency services were called to Perseus Circuit at Kellyville where 17-year-old Aren Beniwal was run over.
NSW Ambulance paramedics treated him at the scene before rushing him to Westmead Hospital, where he remains in a critical condition.
The Hills crime manager, Detective Inspector Chris Laird, confirmed the victim – who is a student at St Mark’s Catholic College at Stanhope Gardens – was undergoing surgery.
“The 17-year-old is in a critical condition in Westmead Hospital. He‘s undergoing surgery … they are catastrophic injuries,” Det Insp Laird told media on Tuesday.
He said the family of the teenager, who only celebrated his 17th birthday in late December, were devastated.
“They‘d be quite distraught, he only turned 17 the other day,” Det Insp Laird said.
“It’s a difficult time for anyone to be involved in a tragic, traumatic injury and we’ll keep in touch with them.”
A line of inquiry police are pursuing is whether the incident was an attempted theft of electronic smoking devices, also known as vapes.
Police are trying to determine whether the occupants of the car went to purchase vapes from Mr Beniwal before refusing to pay and attempting to flee with the smoking devices.
Det Insp Laird said no charges had been laid at this stage.
“What we believe has occurred is that a group of (four) people in a Holden Colorado have gone to the address to purchase vapes from the 17-year-old,” Det Insp Laird said.
“There seemed to be a dispute over it, the car has driven off and the 17-year-old has gone underneath the car and has suffered serious injuries.
“This poor boy has been seriously injured and we owe it to him to pursue all lines of inquiry; we‘ll be open to a motor vehicle accident or something more sinister, but we don’t want to rule anything out.”
Police believe one occupant, an 18-year-old male, exited the vehicle shortly after it struck the 17-year-old.
The three other occupants of the car returned to scene and rendered assistance to the injured teenager before calling emergency services.
Police have appealed for the 18-year-old to attend Castle Hill police station to assist with the investigation.
“This is a tragic incident that has occurred over nothing; the purchasing of vapes,” Det Insp Laird said.
“A young man has been seriously, seriously injured. We need to speak to the fourth male; he knows who he is. We need him to come to the police station to assist with inquiries.”
A neighbour, Charlie Moraza, said the street was filled with emergency services and that Mr Beniwal’s family did not know of the incident until police asked them to come outside.
“The street was all full of police cars. We were looking through the window and we noticed there was an ambulance and we knew something had happened,” Mr Moraza, 66, told NCA NewsWire.
“We saw the Beniwal’s come out and even they didn’t even know (what had happened); the police had to call them out and that’s when they realised it was their son.”