Riverhead was like a home away from home for Keri Trinca of Manorville and her 7-year-old son Jason, Riverhead Raceway regulars both killed in a two-car crash in Manorville Saturday that also critically injured the family’s two other young children.
While funeral arrangements have not yet been finalized, a family friend said plans were already in the works for a procession to take the mother and son’s remains to the Route 58 racetrack for one more spin before taking them to their final resting places.
“After the services, they’re going to bring them to the track for a victory lap,” said Linda Solomito of Islip, who helps run the Riverhead-based East End Kart Racing go-kart club.
Jason Trinca was a club member and a prolific go-karter who raced in Riverhead most every weekend during the warmer months and also traveled with the Solomito family to race in Connecticut and elsewhere in the region.
Ms. Trinca, 30, was driving eastbound on Oceanview Boulevard extension about 8:30 a.m. when her 1998 Honda Accord entered the intersection of County Road 111 and collided with a southbound 2002 Ford E350 van driven by Steven Vonfricken, according to Suffolk police.
She died at the scene. Jason was transported by Manorville Community Ambulance to Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead, where he later died from his injuries. Ms. Trinca’s 4-year-old daughter Marialena and 2-year-old son Christopher were taken via police helicopter to Stony Brook University Medical Center in critical condition.
Both children have since made steady progress, Ms. Solomito and hospital officials said, although Maria was still listed as critical on Tuesday.
Mr. Vonfricken, 51, of Saint James, and his passenger, Edward James, 50, of Smithtown, were transported to Peconic Bay Medical Center where they were treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
No charges have been filed, but the crash is still under investigation, police said.
Meanwhile, the Trincas’ relatives and friends in Long Island’s tight-knit motorsports community have rallied around the devastated family. First, a day at the races was held at Riverhead Raceway Sunday to gather donations for the family. The raceway was full of mourners bearing the number 48, Jason’s go-kart racing number. Ms. Solomito said some $6,400 was raised and that a member of the motorsports community, whom she declined to name, has pledged to pay for the two funerals.
A candlelight vigil and fundraiser were held Tuesday night at the high school in the Eastport-South Manor School District, where Jason was a student. And an Italian buffet fundraiser is scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday, Oct. 13, at Villa Michelangelo’s in Manorville from 6 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children.
A second fundraiser will be held on Sunday at the AMF Shirley Lanes bowling alley on William Floyd Parkway in Shirley, from 3 to 5 p.m. Another is scheduled for October 27 at Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead from 7 until 10 p.m.
“The family is hoping to raise enough money so [Jay Trinca] doesn’t have to go back to work for a year,” Ms. Solomito said. “We’re going to be selling T-shirts and stickers. We have to get over this major hump first [planning a funeral].”
She said funeral planning has been slowed a bit, as Mr. Trinca does not want to leave his two injured children’s bedsides.
Ms. Solomito said Ms. Trinca “would give you the shirt off her back.”
“She just had the most wonderful personality,” she continued. “She had more energy than 50 people. She would never stop. She would always text me during the week, asking what she could bring to the track. I would have to say, ‘It’s OK, Keri, you don’t have to make anything. You’re busy enough. You have three kids.’ She just never got tired.”
Ms. Solomito said little Jason played football but racing was his true love.
“And he was also a fantastic little break-dancer,” she added. “They are just a wonderful family.”
To make a donation, visit the Trinca Motorsports Facebook page and click the donate button on the left, or send checks payable to the Trinca family to P.O. Box 176, Kings Park, NY 11754.
Additional reporting by Vera Chinese.