An Elmont intersection was dedicated Saturday in memory of a 12-year-old girl who was fatally struck by a sport utility vehicle last year while walking to school.
Gabrielle Johnson was killed the morning of Feb. 1, 2016, on Elmont Road near Elmont Memorial High School — less than a half-mile from her home — as she crossed the street with her twin sister.
Gabrielle’s bedroom window overlooks the intersection of Village Avenue and Ruby Street, where family, friends and town officials gathered for the unveiling of a sign marking Gabrielle Johnson Avenue.
“This keeps her memory alive and honors her memory,” said the girl’s aunt, Christine Rose. “She was involved, played violin, ran track and the morning she passed away, she talked about trying out for the volleyball team.”
Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony J. Santino said the day was an occasion to celebrate Gabrielle’s “joyous life and the positive influence” she had on the community.
He said when family and supporters approached the town to have the street dedicated in the seventh-grader’s name, the town panel that reviews such requests found Gabrielle stood out.
“She was such a gifted and talented girl, and an inspiration not only to her family but to the community,” Santino said. “She represented the future of Elmont and showed extraordinary promise and would have succeeded in anything she undertook.”
He said town officials have dedicated streets to other outstanding residents, including a longtime ice cream man from Inwood, a World War II veteran and hardware store owner from Bellmore, and a man from Franklin Square who flew on one of the space shuttles.
At the time of the crash, Nassau police said there was no criminality involved and did not release the name of the driver. On Dec. 1, however, Adam Turner, 38, of Far Rockaway, was arrested and charged with criminally negligent homicide, a felony. He is due back in Nassau County Court in Mineola on Oct. 30.
Rose said Gabrielle was born premature and she did not expect her to live.
“She came into this world fighting and she left fighting,” Rose said. “She was the shining star of our family.”
Michael T. Anderson, Gabrielle’s St. Boniface CYO track coach for about a year, said she had “great things ahead of her.”
“This helps you overcome a great loss and move on,” he said of the street renaming. “But you look at it and still remember.”