Hundreds Flood Funeral Home for Wake of 7 Killed in Bronx Crash

By Meredith Hoffman on May 4, 2012 7:06am 

THE BRONX — Mourners flooded a Bronx funeral home Thursday to grieve three generations of a family killed when their car dropped 60 feet off the Bronx River Parkway.

The bodies were laid side by side in a semi circle of seven white caskets, a heartbreaking reminder of the loss that occurred last Sunday.

Grandparents Jacob Nunez, 85, and Ana Julia Martinez, 81, lay beside their daughters, Maria Nunez, 39, and Maria Gonzalez, 45, and their grandchildren Marlyn Nunez, 3, Niely Nunez, 7, and Jaslyn Gonzalez, 9.

"They seemed like little angels," said family friend Arisleyda Lombert of the children, each dressed in white dresses and silver crowns beneath translucent veils at the Parkchester Funeral Home.

"When you see them in the coffin you just can't express it in words."

Each of the deceased women also wore white dresses and gloves. The grandfather wore a white suit.

Each coffin had a silver cross and pastel-colored roses were interspersed throughout the room.

The surviving members of the immediate family — also clad in white — huddled together on a couch, greeting family and friends.

The horrific accident happened Sunday during the grandparents' visit from the Dominican Republic to celebrate Jaslyn's first communion.

The SUV flipped over a barrier at the edge of the road and plunged into a remote section of the Bronx Zoo.

The accident spurred immediate calls for extra safety measures on the road, and a response from the city which put in improvements and more stringent speed controls this week.

"It's so sad," said Jose Tejada, who grew up with Maria Nunez's husband in the Dominican Republic.

"Everyone loves them. They just came here to work, to improve their lives. They're humble, nice people."

The line of mourners on Unionport Road seemed never-ending.

Visitors included Jaslyn's classmates and teachers from San Raman's Catholic School, students from Fordham University, where Maria Nunez and Maria Gonzalez worked,  Bronx Borough President Diaz, Jr. and members of the Dominican community.

"We have to be united because we're all connected," said Dominican native Socorro Jimenez, 61, of the Dominican community in New York.

"We're all brothers and sisters."

A funeral service will be held on Friday.

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