Dashane Santana Mourned at East Village Memorial Service
EAST VILLAGE — Dozens of family and friends of 12-year-old Dashane Santana gathered at a local funeral home Tuesday to say a tearful goodbye to the aspiring musician, who was struck and killed by a minivan while crossing Delancey Street earlier this month.
The service was held at the Provenzano Lanza Funeral Home on Second Avenue, after Santana's family was able to raise more than $8,500 to pay for the memorial service and funeral.
"I thought I was OK, and then I walked in [the funeral home]," said Brian Bacchus, who organized two benefit concerts over the weekend to raise money for the services, and became emotional upon seeing the girl's weeping family.
Bacchus said donors contributed about $2,000 more than the family's goal. The extra money will go toward helping Santana's mother, Shamika Benjamin, 31, make ends meet.
Grieving relatives knelt and wept over the casket holding Santana, who wore a gray dress and tiara.
Bouquets of yellow, blue and red flowers surrounded her. One bouquet included a banner reading "Goodbye Angel."
"I just wanted to come say God bless. I know she is in heaven," said family friend Sonia Rivera, 67, of the Bronx.
"To lose a child is the worst."
Santana, a talented singer and dancer who had applied to The Juilliard School before she was tragically killed near the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge on Jan. 13, was supposed to celebrate her 13th birthday on Feb. 7.
The CASTLE Middle School student was hit as she crossed Delancey Street at the entrance to the bridge, where the street widens to nine lanes of traffic.
At the funeral home, Santana's grandmother, Teresa Perdoza, 51, placed pictures of the girl near the entrance and greeted mourners as they arrived.
"We're all still in shock," said Perdoza, who collected $600 going door-to-door throughout the Jacob Riis II Houses after the accident.
Santana's funeral service will be held Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. at St. Emeric's Church, 185 Avenue D.