Fundraisers, tributes set up for Northampton crash victims

12/09/2015 7:00 PM |

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Family, co-workers and friends the local high school alumni killed in a head-on car crash in Northampton last week, have started a trio of online fundraisers to help support the families.

Two separate fundraisers were set up for Courtney Pivirotto, a 26-year-old Eastport resident and beloved Maximus Health + Fitness gym staff member. The family of the other victim in the deadly crash, Brandon McKee, has also set up an online fundraiser.

In total, the three fundraisers have raised more than $7,500 as of Wednesday afternoon.

“She had this amazing smile, she was very, very conversational,” said Maximus gym co-owner Kandu Agbimson. “People would want to come in and talk … They’d come in, talk to Courtney, be in a better mood, work out, talk to Courtney again, and leave in a better mood.”

Sue Culver, a staff member at the gym who worked the front desk with Ms. Pivirotto, said she was a cheerful member of the team who, despite having to open the gym at 4 a.m., never missed a day of work.

“She was a young woman who was beautiful inside and out,” Ms. Culver said. “She was always smiling, always in a good mood.”

On the fundraiser site for the McKee family, set up to help cover funeral expenses, family members called him “a goof ball and a loving soul.”

“Brandon has touched a lot of people over the years of his short life, always trying to put a smile on your face and making your day better then it was,” the family wrote. “This is still a big shock and words cannot express how we all feel.”

The crash occurred just before 3:30 p.m. near Lakeview Drive after a car driven by 23-year-old Brandon McKee of Center Moriches crossed lanes on Lake Avenue and struck Ms. Pivirotto’s vehicle head-on, Southampton Town police said.

Ms. Pivirotto, a 2007 graduate of Bishop McGann-Mercy High School, died at the scene.

Mr. McKee, who was a 2009 Riverhead High School graduate and formerly lived in Flanders, was charged by police with driving under the influence of drugs immediately after the crash and airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital for treatment, police said. He succumbed to his injuries Saturday morning, according to a news release.

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Southampton Town police Det. Sgt. Lisa Costa said investigators would move forward with blood tests and safety checks on both vehicles in the crash “so we can assess the extent of culpability and hopefully give the families some closure.”

At Maximus Health + Fitness on East Main Street, a flier hung from the front desk with a link to their online fundraiser to help her family.

Mr. Agbimson said Ms. Pivirotto had made a strong impact on not just her co-workers but also the people who worked out at the gym every day. 

“She just had the time and patience, know matter who you were and what you knew,” he said.

Mr. Agbimson said a few longtime clients called into the gym to say they wouldn’t be able to make it this week because they were so hurt by the news.

“We have a lot of people just devastated,” he said. “We can’t believe what happened.”

Tributes to Ms. Pivirotto poured in online from friends and former clients. As of Tuesday, more than $3,000 had been raised to help offset the family’s funeral expenses through the online fundraiser set up by the Maximus gym employees.

Mr. Agbimson said Ms. Pivirotti’s previous employers at Planet Fitness have also started their own donation drive to raise money for her family. That fundraiser has raised more than $3,700 in four days.

“So many people saw how genuinely nice and sincere a person she was,” Mr. Agbimson said.

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