Dashane Santana, the 12-year-old girl who was struck and killed by a minivan crossing Delancey Street yesterday had dreams of attending Juilliard and becoming an actress. "She was a loving little girl—that was my girl," Santana's mother, Shamika Benjamin told the Post. Benjamin seemed to confirm the accounts of two witnesses who said that Santana was held up in the middle of the street as the traffic light turned green. "She was crossing the street when she dropped her bookbag." Police have not charged the 58-year-old driver of the van, and are deeming the tragedy an accident.
In a release, State Senator Daniel Squadron, who convened a Delancey Street Safety Working Group this fall, called yesterday's incident "an unspeakable tragedy." "We must continue to work together as a community to make Delancey Street safer for everyone." Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer demanded action from the city in his statement: "The City must act now and not wait a second longer. We can no longer go about its daily business with the knowledge that one of our central intersections is irrefutably perilous."
Though the DOT has installed countdown boxes on many intersections on Delancey, and is continuing to erect concrete barriers and create a wider pedestrian island at the mouth of the Williamsburg Bridge, residents who cross regularly say that the changes aren't enough. "The light is too short," a nearby newstand attendant tells DNAinfo.
Santana's mother's boyfriend, who lived with Santana in the Jacob Riis II Houses, tells the outlet that Santana, who played the flute and piano, was talented and precocious. “She was very witty. She was wiser than you would expect for a 12-year-old," Robert White said. "The last thing she said to me was 'I'll see you after school.'"