Students stunned over the death of one of their classmates at Pearl River High School and the serious injury of another will have access to grief counseling throughout the week.
Altin Nezaj, 17, a popular football and wrestler at the school, died during a multi-vehicle crash on Route 304 around 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 13. Also, critically injured in the crash was fellow PRHS student Aisha Radoncic. Another teen, Saniha Cekic of Brooklyn, also lost her life.
"Altin will be remembered as a smiling, steady presence who excelled as a varsity wrestler, varsity football player, and a solid student," said Pearl River Superintendent of Schools Marco F. Pochintesta in a letter to students and their parents on Monday, Oct. 14.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of each student," he added.
To help students cope with the sudden loss, counselors will remain available throughout the week, for any student or staff member in need of support, Pochintesta said.
In addition, counselors will be available at other Pearl River schools this week.
Pochintesta said that news of the tragedy has already propagated through social media and via local news outlets shortly after the crash.
"Thus many students may already be experiencing trauma and other emotions upon learning of the loss of their classmate," he wrote. "Allow for your child to talk about feelings. If this is the first loss your child has experienced, your child may not know how to respond and will be looking for your guidance."
Additional plans for services will be announced on Tuesday, he added.
The crash involved a 2013 Volkswagen Jetta operated by Jason T. Castro of Nanuet, who was not injured in the accident.
The second vehicle was a 2017 Porsche Macan operated by Radoncic, 17, of Orangeburg. She was transported to Westchester Medical Center with serious injuries.
Orangetown police said on Monday that the investigation into the crash is ongoing.
"As of this time, there is no evidence of drug or alcohol involvement," the department said.
Anyone who may have witnessed or have pertinent information that may assist the Orangetown Police investigation are requested to contact the Orangetown Police Detective Bureau at (845)359-2121.
This continues to be a developing story. Check back to Daily Voice for updates.
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