Four days after an out-of-control transit bus slammed into a Hempstead Village bedroom, killing 6-year-old David Granados, his family and friends said their goodbyes to the boy Sunday at a wake in Garden City Park.
A steady stream of mourners gathered at Park Funeral Chapels Sunday while the boy's grieving mother and stepfather sat quietly at the front of the viewing area with his 7-year-old brother, Josue Molina. In the front of the room, the little boy lay inside a blue, two-toned open coffin, wearing a dark suit. At the foot of his coffin rested a large wreath of flowers.
Close to 75 people attended the service. Most, including the boy's immediate family, declined to comment as they entered the chapel.
David was killed Wednesday night after he was pinned between the transit bus and the demolished interior of his bedroom on Fulton Avenue as he and Josue got ready for bed.
The westbound bus had swerved right to avoid a jaywalking pedestrian just east of the home, police said.
David's uncle, Jose Granados, 30, said his nephew's body will be flown to El Salvador, his parents' native country, either Monday or Tuesday. Although the boy was born in the United States, his relatives want to bury him in the town of La Union, El Salvador, Granados said.
Special arrangements had to be made to allow David to be buried out of the country because he was a U.S.-born citizen.
He said another wake for relatives in El Salvador will take place followed by a burial.
Granados said David's biological father left the United States three months ago to return to El Salvador temporarily and is there now waiting for his son. The boy's father is devastated by the news, Granados said as he stood in front of the funeral home.
"He is really not well," Granados said of his brother.
Susan Johnson, interim superintendent of the Hempstead school district, was at the chapel briefly to pay her respects to the family. Johnson was accompanied by Hempstead Board of Education president Betty Cross.
"It's important the family know we are here for them," Johnson said. "Besides losing their son, they have lost their home."
She said grief counseling teams have been working with students and staff, and that David's classmates are having a difficult time coping with their loss.
The crash forced the family to find temporary housing, across from the funeral home.
Just before the bus crashed into the home, a jaywalker, who sources said was drunk, tried to cross Fulton Avenue. The 35-year-old man was hit by the bus before it jumped a curb and hit the house.
Hempstead Village officials said Thursday that the front bedroom of the house rammed by the bus had been illegally converted from a porch.