By Joe Anuta and Rebecca Henely
The IS 145 community gathered together to say goodbye to Miguel Torres this week, an 11-year-old Jackson Heights resident who was killed when a dump truck hit him not far from his school.
“He didn’t deserve to die,” said 11-year-old Corona resident Kevin Andrade, a friend of Miguel’s. “He deserved to have a long life.”
Miguel, who lived at 84th Street near 31st Avenue, died Dec. 28 when a 1988 white dump truck traveling southbound down 80th Street turned right onto Northern Boulevard and Miguel was struck by the rear wheels. The incident took place at 8:45 a.m. across from IS 145, at 33-34 80th St. in Jackson Heights.
The Queens district attorney’s office declined to press charges against the driver in the incident, an NYPD spokesman said.
The school was on holiday break at the time, but some students were still there for extracurricular activities.
A wake was held for Miguel at the Rivera Funeral Home, at 104-02 37th Ave. in Corona, Sunday, followed by a funeral mass Monday at Our Lady of Fatima Church, at 25-02 80th St. in Jackson Heights. Pallbearers for Miguel’s small, white casket occasionally wiped their eyes as they rolled it to the altar. Miguel’s mother Elia Tabares, clad in black with a white scarf over her head, sobbed as she followed the coffin.
“It is impossible to understand why these things happen, but people of faith believe that in these difficult times God is always with us,” said Monsignor John Mahoney, of Our Lady of Fatima, during the service. “We pray today that Miguel will now be with the Lord.”
Fellow students and school officials attended both the wake and the service. Some students also created murals about Miguel, decorated with photos and some of his writings, and a banner that reads “Angel of IS 145.”
A biography written by classmates Daisey Mendoza and Daisy Sinchi said Miguel used to attend PS 148 and wanted to be a singer when he grew up. He also liked handball, soccer, the TV show “SpongeBob SquarePants,” drawing, sharing stories and the pop singer Adele.
“He had a really sweet and nice voice,” they said. “He was a positive and happy child.”
John Gordon, an eighth-grade social studies teacher at IS 145, came to the wake with many other staff members, even though he did not teach Miguel.
“We are here from the school community to show our support because this is such a tragedy,” Gordon said. “He was a very sweet boy. He was not someone who gave anybody any trouble.”
Miguel’s remains will be moved to Mexico.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4564.