Good Morning
Good Morning
Long IslandSuffolk

Priest to mourners: Limo crash victim Brittney Schulman 'like a shining star'

Family members follow behind the casket of Brittney

Family members follow behind the casket of Brittney M. Schulman, following her funeral Mass at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Kings Park on Thursday, July 23, 2015. Schulman, 23, of Smithtown, and three other women died in a limo crash in Cutchogue. Credit: John Roca

Brittney Schulman's life was "effervescent, gregarious, bubbly" and "sparkling like a shining star," the Rev. Sean Gann told mourners at her funeral Thursday inside the same Kings Park church where her friend's memorial was held the day before.

Schulman, 23, of Smithtown, and three friends -- Lauren Baruch, 24, also of Smithtown, Stephanie Belli, 23, of Kings Park, and Amy Grabina, 23, of Commack -- were killed Saturday in Cutchogue after their outing to North Fork wine country. A pickup truck broadsided their limousine as it made a U-turn on Depot Lane minutes after leaving Vineyard 48, a Cutchogue winery.

Family and friends of Schulman, a SUNY Cortland graduate who had an eye on a career in the fashion industry, packed into St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church and listened as Gann talked about the promising young woman.

A similar scene played out Wednesday morning when mourners jammed the venerable Kings Park church for Baruch's funeral.

And it won't be the last funeral at the church for a victim of the crash. Belli's service is scheduled there at 11:30 a.m. Friday.

Gann cautioned mourners to prepare for a painful and extended period of grief as they cope with the magnitude of Schulman's death.

"It's going to take a long time to be able to wrestle with and to be able to deal and cope with the absence of someone who brought so much to the lives of other people," Gann said during the morning Mass.

He said the crash was a tragedy that carried with it a "darkness" that has blanketed Long Island "because all anyone seems to be able to speak about or enter a conversation about are the events of last Saturday."

Gann said the pain of such a loss extends beyond friends and relatives of the victims.

"Even for people who didn't know these four young beautiful girls," Gann said, "you can't help but feel brokenhearted for their parents, their families and those who knew them best."

After the service ended, six pallbearers carried Schulman's coffin out of the church with somber relatives and loved ones behind, some wiping tears.

Joelle M. Dimonte, 25, of Elwood, Alicia Arundel, 24, of Setauket, Olga Lipets, 24, of Brooklyn, and Melissa Angela Crai, 23, of Scarsdale, who were also in the limo, survived but suffered injuries in the crash that nearly split the limo in two.

Latest Long Island News