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Alleged DWI victim's sister: 'She had dreams'

Leasa Silvera, 15, right, sister of victim Tynielle

Leasa Silvera, 15, right, sister of victim Tynielle Silvera, is consoled outside the courtroom by family friend Camille Hammond at Central Islip Criminal Court. (Dec. 2, 2010) Credit: James Carbone

Tynielle Silvera was in love and on the verge of entering college.

But on the day she was to take placement exams at Nassau Community College, her family and friends were instead preparing a funeral for the 18-year-old, who police say was hit and killed by a drunken driver Wednesday evening.

Outside the courtroom where the man accused of running over Silvera on Sunrise Highway in Amityville was arraigned Thursday, her family described the young woman's plans and short life.

"She had dreams," Silvera's sister, Leasa, 15, of Amityville, said Wednesday through tears. "She was going to be a lawyer."

Born in the island nation of Jamaica, Silvera immigrated to the United States in 2004. She graduated from Law, Government and Community Service High School, a magnet school in Cambria Heights, Queens, her family said.

Her stepmother, Yolanda Silvera of Amityville, said her daughter was an honor student who volunteered and did community service after graduation.

Tynielle Silvera was recently accepted to Nassau Community College and had planned to take placement exams to determine what classes she would enroll in Thursday, her family said.

Silvera had been tutoring a junior high school student in Brooklyn, her stepmother said. She was walking home from a tutoring session when she was struck and killed, she said.

"She was smart, beautiful, and caring," Silvera's boyfriend, Kevaughn Hammond, 19, said outside the courtroom.

Hammond, who had dated Silvera on and off since March 2009, said they loved to travel and had been planning to take a trip to Los Angeles together. He said she was popular and enjoyed movies and bowling.

Silvera, who had been on the debate team in high school, planned to study nursing before going to law school, he said.

"She talked to everyone," Hammond said. "She was loving, caring. She wanted to make a good life. . . . She didn't even live her life."

In addition to her stepmother and sister, Silvera leaves behind a father, who lives in Jamaica, and three siblings ages 3 to 18.

Hammond said Silvera's family plans to hold her funeral in Jamaica. He was not sure whether any services would be observed in the United States.


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