Family and friends are mourning the death of an 18-year-old Southampton High School student who was killed in a car crash over the Christmas break while visiting family in El Salvador.
Ana Castro, a senior at Southampton High, died in the car crash Sunday in San Miguel, according to her family. She was traveling in a car with her cousins and an aunt when a drunken driver struck it, her family said. She was killed instantly, and the others were injured.
"If you ever met her, she was the sweetest girl you would ever meet," said her cousin, Jose Erik Ramirez, 23, of Hampton Bays, who launched a GoFundMe campaignto help Castro's family bring her back to Long Island for the funeral.
"She was never in a bad mood," he added. "She was always out there to help people. She had a great heart and a great soul and a great personality. It is very heartbreaking."
The GoFundMe campaign, which hoped to raise $18,000 to cover expenses, had generated more than $22,786 as of 8 p.m. last night. Her family said they expect that Castro's body will be returned to Long Island next week for services.
Castro turned 18 on Dec. 20 and had taken an exam that would help her get into college, her cousin said. She begged her parents to go to El Salvador over the holiday break to visit relatives.
Ana was the youngest of three siblings and her parents' only daughter, said her brother Freddy Castro, 29, of Southampton. She attended Hampton Bays schools since kindergarten before recently moving to Southampton.
Southampton Superintendent Nicholas Dyno said Friday that support services will be available to students and staff upon their return to school Wednesday.
"We were deeply saddened to learn that Ana Castro, a senior at Southampton High School, died in a car crash in El Salvador during winter break," Dyno said in a statement. "We extend our deepest condolences to her family, friends and loved ones who are grieving during this very difficult time."
Because of the government shutdown, the U.S. State Department said it was unable to comment on the case.
Freddy Castro said his sister wanted to be a social worker and had been discussing that with her high school guidance counselor.
"She was a sweet girl; she was crazy about her nephews," Castro said. "My brother Arlin — he has two kids — and she was crazy about them. She was always helping in any way she could.
"Saying goodbye to her is going to be the hardest part. Hopefully she is in a better place than us."