7 coffins at funeral for NY highway plunge victims

May 4, 2012, 9:58 PM

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) – Seven shiny white caskets crowded the front of an old brick Catholic church in the Bronx on Friday for the funeral of seven members of one family, all killed when their SUV flew over a guardrail and plummeted 60 feet.

One of the caskets lining the altar at St. Raymond’s Church was smaller than the rest; it contained a 3-year-old. Another held a 10-year-old girl, a day before what was to have been her First Holy Communion.

The pastor, Monsignor John Graham, said the family had been through “a nightmare of unimaginable, frightening, real proportions.”

One mourner, Direna Small, described the tragedy succinctly: “Seven at one time. Three generations. No goodbye.”

Killed in Sunday’s wreck were Jacob Nunez and Ana Julia Martinez, who were visiting from the Dominican Republic community of Manuel Bueno; their daughters, Maria Gonzalez and Maria Nunez; Gonzalez’s daughter, Jocelyn Gonzalez, 10; and Maria Nunez’s daughters Niely Rosario, 7, and Marly Rosario, 3.

Police say Maria Gonzalez was driving on the elevated Bronx River Parkway when the SUV clipped the median, then crossed three lanes of traffic and hit a curb that launched it over the guardrail and down to the grounds of the Bronx Zoo.

Hundreds of relatives and friends arrived for the funeral Friday morning, some in a long white limousine that bore paper signs with the names of the dead. A church bell tolled slowly and a dozen children from the parish elementary school _ which Jocelyn attended _ lined the church steps as a kind of honor guard.

The funeral came one day before Jocelyn planned to celebrate her First Holy Communion, Graham said.

Police closed off busy Castle Hill Avenue before the seven hearses arrived. About 200 people without connections to the family lined up in hopes of getting in to the funeral, but the church, built in 1903, was packed well beyond its 650-person capacity with friends and family. Scores of people stood through the Mass, where hymns, incense and sorrow filled the air.

Prayers were said in English and Spanish, and a choir sang hymns in both languages.

At a point in the Mass where congregants share a sign of peace _ usually a handshake _ dozens of relatives left their pews for long embraces with each other, many of them crying. The display affected many other mourners; a nun dabbed at her eyes, an usher’s lower lip quivered.

At the end of the Mass, Bishop Josu Iriondo walked down the steps from the altar, sprinkled the caskets with holy water and waved incense over them.

The girls and their mothers were buried at St. Raymond Cemetery in the Bronx, Graham said. The grandparents’ bodies were to be returned to the Dominican Republic.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

Associated Press

8-year-old Florida boy accidentally shoots and kills baby

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) — An 8-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed a 1-year-old girl and injured a 2-year-old girl at a Florida motel on Sunday, authorities said. The boy’s father left the gun holstered in his Pensacola motel room closet. After he left the room, his son found it and fired a round that passed […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

Editorial Roundup: United States

Excerpts from recent editorials in the United States and abroad: June 25 The Washington Post says GOP support for gun bill offers hope for more reform Fifteen Republicans in the Senate and 14 in the House joined with congressional Democrats this week to break more than 25 years of inaction on gun safety. That these […]
15 hours ago
FILE - Andrew Giuliani, left, a Republican candidate for Governor of New York, is joined by his fat...
Associated Press

Heckler charged with assault after confronting Rudy Giuliani

NEW YORK (AP) — A heckler who clapped former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on the back at a campaign event was arrested, jailed for more than 24 hours and now faces an assault charge. The episode Sunday at a Staten Island supermarket produced dueling accounts, with Giuliani likening the touch to being hit […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

Helicopter pilot helping Alaska firefighters dies in crash

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A helicopter contracted to support firefighting efforts on an Interior Alaska blaze crashed after takeoff, killing the pilot, officials said Monday. The fatality was the first related to Alaska wildfires in 22 years. The pilot was identified as Douglas Ritchie, 56, of Wasilla, Alaska State Troopers said. He was the lone […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

Amtrak train collides with dump truck, derails in Missouri

MENDON, Mo. (AP) — A passenger train traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago derailed in Missouri on Monday afternoon and initial reports indicate that some people aboard were injured, Amtrak said. The Southwest Chief was carrying about 243 passengers when it collided with a dump truck near Mendon at 1:42 p.m., Amtrak spokeswoman Kimberly Woods […]
15 hours ago
This image released by Showtime shows journalist Alex Wagner from "The Circus: Inside the Wildest P...
Associated Press

MSNBC appoints Alex Wagner as 4-night prime-time anchor

NEW YORK (AP) — MSNBC on Monday solidified its prime-time lineup by appointing Alex Wagner to fill Rachel Maddow’s time slot four nights a week, Tuesday through Friday. Wagner, who has worked at CBS News, as a co-host of Showtime’s “The Circus” and as an editor at The Atlantic, is on her second stint at […]
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
...
Christina O’Haver

BE FAST to spot a stroke

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
7 coffins at funeral for NY highway plunge victims