Family and friends gathered in Massapequa Park yesterday to mourn Carmen Rivera-Gotay who was killed in a car crash early Saturday morning.
Rivera-Gotay, 17, was a passenger in a vehicle driven by Ray Vega, 18, who tried to speed past his older brother on Route 110 in Melville. Vega lost control of his vehicle and careened into a tree, killing both his passengers.
The funeral Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes Church was the final farewell to the Huntington Station teen. Sniffles echoed throughout the large church.
"Anytime you talk to anybody about Carmencita you hear the same thing: how wonderful, how beautiful and how kind she was," Father Anthony Heinlein said at the service.
Close relatives filled the church's front pews, and a couple of dozen other mourners also paid their respects.
Small pamphlets with photos showing Rivera-Gotay's youthful smile and an obituary were distributed at the church.
Rivera-Gotay had just finished her junior year at Huntington High School and planned to attend college to become a psychologist. She worked as a bookkeeper at King Kullen supermarket in Halesite to save money for college.
She enjoyed playing the violin and her friends knew her to be a caring person, according to the obituary.
During the Mass, the hugs and handshakes exchanged during the sign of peace lasted longer than usual as people sought consolation.
Too distraught to speak, Carolyn Gotay, the teen's mother, sent a man with a handwritten note to speak for her at the Mass.
"You made me proud to be a mother and I loved and enjoyed the short time we shared," read the note. "I love you baby girl and will miss you terribly."
Outside, mourners were silent as the casket was placed in the hearse. Rivera-Gotay was buried at Saint Raymond's Cemetery in the Bronx.