Brittney Walsh, teen killed in crash, buried

Loved ones gathered at a funeral home in Babylon followed by the burial in Lindenhurst of Brittney Walsh, 18, who was killed in a crash on June 22 when her car was rear-ended by a man who has been charged with driving while intoxicated. Videojournalist: Jim Staubitser (June 29, 2012)

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Thomas Walsh knelt on the grass, then laid his head on his 18-year-old daughter's coffin as family, friends and schoolmates of Brittney Walsh, killed by an alleged drunken driver last week, gathered at her grave site Friday.

The Lindenhurst father didn't speak publicly at the cemetery or funeral, but he shared his grief in a Facebook posting in the morning.

"At times it may seem as if I don't have hate or anger towards others, but I do, I found it. It's natural," he wrote. "I just wish not to share it . . ."

That anger, further detailed in the posting, is directed at Michael Grasing, 31, of Babylon, who police said was the driver of the speeding car that slammed into Brittney's SUV Sunday night on Montauk Highway.

Grasing has pleaded not guilty to driving while intoxicated. Authorities said he remained in jail last night, with bail set at $100,000 cash or $200,000 bond.

Prosecutors have said they expect to file upgraded charges in the case soon. About 1 1/2 hours after the crash, Grasing had a blood-alcohol level of 0.30 percent, nearly four times the legal limit, court documents show.

As Thomas Walsh knelt at the coffin Friday at Lindenhurst's Breslau Cemetery, his tearful wife, Cheryl Grubel-Walsh, stood behind him with their son, Sean, 13.

Earlier in the day, about 200 attended a brief memorial service at Claude R. Boyd/Spencer Funeral Home in Lindenhurst.

A stuffed animal, a soccer ball, flowers and a photo of Brittney were placed on the coffin. Two of her varsity soccer jerseys, No. 14, were also on display.

"There's a golden soccer ball being kicked around somewhere up there," the Rev. Lee Gangaware said. "Some of us go too quickly."

Brittney graduated from high school just two days before the crash. She had gotten an Advanced Regents Diploma and was planning to attend York College in Pennsylvania this fall.

The teen had been active in school activities, including varsity soccer and the National Honor Society. She also worked to keep alive the memory of her best friend and classmate, Christopher Urban, who died in October 2010 from a congenital brain condition.

At the funeral home, a co-worker of Grubel-Walsh described the mother's heartache.

"She lives and breathes for her kids," telling them "I love you" at the end of every conversation, recalled Christy Tolbert, 32.

A friend of Brittney and Urban, Michael Benson, 17, of Amityville, attended the funeral with his father, Michael Sr.

"They were still grieving over Chris, and now to lose another friend in such a tragic way . . . ," the father said. "Even though she was 18, she was like a counselor to all of them. To have that taken away, so suddenly, is painful. They're hurting right now."

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