Hundreds remember Upper Darby grad Dante DeSimone killed in Clifton Heights crash

Click to watch the report from Action News
January 14, 2014 4:58:26 AM PST
There was an outpouring of grief and support Monday night following the death of a Clifton Heights teenager over the weekend.

They came by the hundreds to remember their friend, their former teammate, and their son, 18-year-old Dante DeSimone, a 2013 graduate of Upper Darby High School.

"He was just taken by mistake. Why God took him, I don't know," said Dante's mother, Rita DeSimone.

The accident happened at 9:30 p.m. Sunday as Dante and Darby High senior Tim Robison were walking in the 500 block of West Baltimore Pike.

A car and truck collided, pushing one of the vehicles onto the sidewalk and critically injuring Robison and killing DeSimone, a freshman at Neumann University.

"All these people are here for you. You are special," Rita said.

Former hockey and lacrosse teammates, those who grew up with Dante and others who only knew of him, remembered the young man Monday night where he was struck.

"I know a lot of lacrosse players that were always like, 'He's the captain. He's the one to go to. He's the one. He's the leader of the pack.' So it's just a shame to see someone like that fall," said friend Tim Durante.

Many stood on the other side of the busy highway and waited for police to stop traffic so they could pay their respects.

"This is how close this community is, this is how close all these people are with this child. It's just going to be a terrible loss," family friend Ed Drakeley said.

DeSimone's family reminded the large crowd of something he would often say: "Live in today like you could die tomorrow."

"A person never really dies as long as someone remembers them. Remember Dante in your hearts and tell stories of the way he lived," cousin Stephanie Connor said.

Grief counselors will be on hand this week at Upper Darby High School.

Meanwhile, the crash that killed this popular young man and injured his friend is still under investigation.

Images from the Action Cam at the scene Sunday night showed a red sedan with extensive front end damage and a gray pickup truck marked "Greenslade General Contracting" several hundred feet away.

In a statement Monday, the Upper Darby School District released the following statement:

The Upper Darby School District is deeply saddened to learn of last evening's tragic accident that injured one of our current high school students and claimed the life of one of our recent graduates. The District's Pupil Services Team has established a safe room at the high school for grief counseling and will support all students and staff in need. The District offers its heartfelt condolences to the families involved and will support them in any way possible as they deal with this horrible tragedy.


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