Hundreds mourn teen killed in Clifton Heights accident

Posted: January 15, 2014

In childhood, Dante DeSimone suffered a medical condition that left him confined to a body cast. He underwent surgery and went on to become an ice hockey and lacrosse player at Upper Darby High School who was looking forward to beginning a collegiate career in sports.

"He never gave up. My Dante gave 100 percent in everything he did," said his grieving mother, Rita, as friends and family members cried with her at a candlelight vigil Monday night at the scene where her son was killed in a freak accident over the weekend in Delaware County. "He was a beautiful boy inside and out."

Dante DeSimone, 18, a freshman at Neumann University, was struck and killed in a two-vehicle accident that also seriously injured his friend Tim Robison, 18, an Upper Darby High School student.

A car traveling east on the 500 block of West Baltimore Pike in Clifton Heights was attempting to make a left turn into a McDonald's about 9:30 p.m. Sunday when it struck a pickup truck that was traveling west, police said. The impact sent the pickup onto the sidewalk, where it struck DeSimone and Robison, police said.

DeSimone was rushed to Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Robison suffered severe injuries and was listed in stable condition Monday at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, according to Clifton Heights Police Chief Tim Rockenbach.

Both drivers cooperated with police at the scene, Rockenbach said. No charges have been filed.

More than 200 people gathered Monday night at the McDonald's to remember DeSimone. Balloons, candles, and sports memorabilia were placed in front of the restaurant alongside "Rest in Peace" messages.

One message read: "RIP Dante. 21." He wore a No. 21 jersey in lacrosse. His first lacrosse practice would have been Jan. 27.

"It's going to be a tough season without him," said senior lacrosse player Taylor Ehret, 22, who had taken DeSimone under his wing at Neumann.

DeSimone's father, Ralph, said his son "always wanted to be the best."

Dante DeSimone's younger brother, Anthony, 16, placed one of the last candles at the vigil site.

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