Keri, Jason Trinca mourned in Manorville

Anthony Trinca, 31, center, the brother-in-law of Keri Anthony Trinca, 31, center, the brother-in-law of Keri Trinca, 30, and uncle of Jason Trinca, 7, hugs his nephew Tyler Trinca (in red shorts) and niece Kaitlynn Trinca, 10. (Oct. 9, 2011) Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

advertisement | advertise on newsday

A shattered Manorville family, their friends and neighbors Sunday mourned the death of a mother and her young son in a Saturday car crash that left another son and daughter battling critical injuries.

The conditions of Maria Trinca, 4, and Christopher Trinca, 2, stabilized, Stony Brook University Medical Center doctors said.

The children were injured Saturday morning when a Ford van headed south on County Road 111 in Manorville struck a Honda sedan driven by Keri Trinca, 30, who was going east on Montauk Avenue with her three children in the backseat. Trinca and her oldest son, go-kart racer Jason, 7, died.

The impact of the tragedy was reflected at Riverhead Raceway, where Jason's racing number, 48, was widely visible.

At the crash site, a makeshift memorial included "Trinca 48" decals on a nearby tree as mourners struggled to deal with a loss one family friend called "incomprehensible."

Sunday night, family and friends gathered at the Stony Brook hospital wearing white T-shirts bearing Jason's number 48 and Keri's name amid angel's wings.

Maria and Christopher "are both critically injured, but they have both stabilized," Dr. Margaret Parker, director of the pediatric intensive care unit, said Sunday night. "We're not completely out of the woods yet."

The driver of the van, Steven Vonfricken, 51, of St. James, was treated for non-life-threatening injuries, police said. Vonfricken did not return telephone calls Sunday. No charges have been filed.

Riverhead Raceway regulars said Jason lived to race go-karts and was often a top finisher.

"One in a million," David Brigati, who runs East End Kart Racing, said of Jason. "That kid got out of bed trying to win a race."

His racing drew in the whole family. Father Jay Trinca worked on karts at the track and Keri Trinca would spend full days there, preparing lunches and entertaining friends.

Sunday, the track was full of mourners. Each go-kart displayed a neon green and purple 48 placard on its back in honor of Jason. Race attendees dropped cash in a bucket to help with funeral costs and signed a checkered flag to be presented later to the family.

On Saturday, Jay Trinca was at the track waiting for his family to arrive when he learned of the crash. Sunday, his friend Mike Smith sent him cellphone photos of the memorials to his son, from the signed flag to the omnipresent Trinca 48 decals that Jason, known as "Little Man," proudly wore.

Jay Trinca's brother, Anthony Trinca, 31, of Ridge, recalled calling Keri on Friday after his son was born, only to have that good news followed by the news of the crash.

"One came and one left," Anthony Trinca said of the birth of one child into their extended family and the death of another.

The Trincas' Oceanview Boulevard home in the Country Pointe development remained decorated Sunday for Halloween -- a reminder of how much Keri Trinca, a stay-at-home mom finishing nursing school, and her children valued family time, neighbor Saadia Safian said.

"Four days ago, they were so happy, putting up Halloween decorations," said Safian, who lives on the same street.

"We all used to get together in front of the bus. She was always holding her coffee cup and zipping up Jay, the son, to make sure he was warm enough," Safian said.

The family was beloved in the neighborhood -- a manicured subdivision of two-story homes -- which she said is grieving as a group.

"It's so terrible. You want to be able to see them the next time there is school on Tuesday," Safian said.

Another neighbor, Chris Silvestri, said a local youth football league held a group prayer for the family Sunday morning at Eastport-South Manor Junior-Senior High School's athletic fields.

Funeral services are pending, said family spokesman Joe Cassano of Medford.

You also may be interested in: