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Fundraiser set up to help pay for Far Rockaway girl’s funeral expenses

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The mother of 10-year-old Davina Afokoba has established a GoFundMe page to help pay for her daughter’s funeral after she was struck and killed by an SUV while walking home from school in Far Rockaway last week. (Photo courtesy of GoFundMe)

Queens leaders are urging their constituents to support a fundraising effort for the family of the 10-year-old girl who was tragically struck and killed by a motorist in Far Rockaway last week.

Davina Afokoba was walking home from school with her two siblings last Wednesday on Beach Channel Drive near Dix Avenue when a black Mazda CX9 SUV jumped the curb, killing her and injuring a 32-year-old woman as it smashed into a vacant car wash.

“Our community has experienced a terrible tragedy — the death of a child — a beautiful young girl, full of promise with a bright future ahead of her,” state Senator James Sanders said. “As a father myself, I can tell you that I could not imagine anything more devastating than losing a child. Davina Afokoba should be with us today, celebrating life with her family and friends, but instead, they are planning for her funeral.”

Davina’s mother Priscilla has launched a GoFundMe page to help the family pay the costs of her youngest daughter’s funeral. Queens Borough President Donovan Richards asked Queens residents to help the youngster’s family deal with the aftermath of this tragedy.

“The sudden loss of 10-year-old Davina Afokoba in last week’s tragic crash has left Queens and all of our city deeply saddened and shaken,” Richards said. “Our hearts go out to Davina’s loving family during this awful time. Donations to the GoFundMe fundraiser are a great way for the community to show its support for Davina and her family as they cope with the unimaginable task of burying an innocent child who had her entire life ahead of her.”

The 35-year-old driver of the SUV allegedly had no license, only a learner’s permit. Police from the 101st Precinct in Far Rockaway responded to the scene and discovered the youngster pinned between the vehicle and the building. EMS responded and declared the child dead at the scene.

“We need to do all we can to prevent reckless driving and fatal collisions,” Sanders said.

The scene of the Far Rockaway crash on Wednesday, Feb. 9. (Photo by Lloyd Mitchell)

At least 26 people have been killed in traffic collisions, a 63% increase compared to this point in 2021, as of last Thursday. Of those, five were 18 or younger, according to Councilwoman Selvena Brooks-Powers who represents Far Rockaway.

“My heart sank when I received the news of Davina Afokoba’s death,” Brooks-Powers said. “I have met with her family, who are completely devastated by this loss. I am keeping them in my thoughts and prayers. One traffic death is one death too many. District 31 had 11 traffic fatalities in 2021, more than any other Council district. These senseless deaths are the result of years of underinvestment and neglect of our public space.”

In her role as chair of the transportation and infrastructure committee, Brooks-Powers said she will make it a top priority to visit each of her colleagues’ districts in the coming weeks to identify the transportation issues facing every neighborhood.

“I am looking forward to working with Mayor Adams’ administration to address transportation inequities and ensure safer streets for our families and communities,” Brooks-Powers said.

In New York City, car crashes remain the leading cause of injurious death for children, she added.

“Our children deserve better. Our children deserve to cross the street without fear, and to walk on the sidewalk without worry,” Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Danny Harris said. “Our hearts go out to the families of 10-year-old Davina Afokoba and the others who were killed and injured by cars on unsafe roads this week.”

He called on the mayor to work with the City Council to expand Vision Zero, to fast-track DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez’s commitments to redesign 1,000 intersections for safety and redesign dangerous roads.

“This work must start without delay,” Harris said. “We need to be traveling with our leaders from groundbreaking-to-groundbreaking instead of vigil-to-vigil.”

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