Some asked the question out loud as they left the Commack Abbey Tuesday: Why did 16-year-old Taylor Ann Cavaliere of Dix Hills try to cross the Northern State Parkway late Sunday night?
As teenagers, students and adults piled into the packed funeral home Tuesday for Cavaliere's wake, the question on everyone's mind remained unanswered for Adriana Rofero.
"Nobody knows why," said Rofero, 18, who said she was a friend of Cavaliere's and her older sister, Jill.
Police said Cavaliere attended a house party before the crash.
Friends said Cavaliere was popular, loved to dance and loved animals, was active in kickline dancing as well as other extracurricular activities at Commack High School, where she was a junior. In an email to the school community on Monday, Commack Superintendent Donald A. James called her death a "terrible tragedy."
State Police Investigator James Chadwick said Tuesday that police still sought answers to the mystery. A toxicology report on Cavaliere could take weeks to determine whether drugs or alcohol had been involved.
The driver who struck Cavaliere near the Deer Park Avenue exit was not charged. He told police that the girl ran in front of his car on the busy parkway, authorities have said.
Cavaliere was pronounced dead at the scene.
Chadwick said the house party that Cavaliere attended before she was killed was a gathering of "peers." Police were still trying learn how large the gathering was and who attended.
"I'm conducting interviews with people who attended the party," Chadwick said.
Abby Bencivenga, 19, of Commack, called Cavaliere "a special girl" who had a smile for everyone. "It couldn't be more unfair," Bencivenga said as she paid her respects Tuesday.
A private memorial service is planned for this morning at Commack Abbey for family only, but a funeral Mass, which is open to the public, is planned for 10:45 a.m. at St. Matthew Roman Catholic Church in Dix Hills. Following the Mass, Cavaliere will be buried at St. Charles Cemetery in East Farmingdale.