Monday, August 01, 2005

Best friends killed in crash laid to rest

They were best friends in life and in death.
Illya Kapitannikov and Igor Golovunin, both 16 and from Brooklyn, were laid to rest side by side yesterday as their families mourned their shocking loss.
The boys were killed Wednesday in a horrific Sullivan County car crash that also claimed four other young lives. The victims, all from the Atlanta Dance Camp in South Fallsburg, died when a speeding counselor taking them swimming crossed into oncoming traffic and slammed into a dump truck, killing everyone in her car.
Illya and Igor were remembered yesterday at an emotional and tradition-filled funeral at St. Seraphim Russian Orthodox Church on the grounds of a Russian Orthodox convent in Nanuet, Rockland County.
"They were young and they were talented and their future was in front of them," said one devastated mourner, Tamara Litvinenko.
More than 200 people, from family and friends to fellow ballroom dancers, poured into the church and watched with aching hearts as the teenagers' mothers wrapped their arms around the boys' matching silver caskets.
"I don't want to live anymore," they both cried, funeralgoers said.
Igor's mother, Lyudmila Golovunin, dressed head to toe in black, collapsed and lost consciousness briefly beside her son's coffin.
She sobbed uncontrollably as she followed her son's casket as it was carried slowly in a hearse to the convent's cemetery.
Illya's mother, Ana Kapitannikov, was surrounded by family as she followed her son's coffin.
Kapitannikov owns the dance camp all the victims had been attending.
The 1994 Toyota Celica that crashed was driven by Irina Mironova, 25, of Miami Beach, a camp counselor with a suspended license who was going faster than 90 mph, authorities said.
The crash also claimed the lives of Gabrielle Soybelman, 12, of Brooklyn; Masha Fishman, 14, of Edison, N.J., and Anatoliy Cheremnykh, 14, of Owings Mills, Md.
Sullivan County District Attorney Stephen Lungen has said he is considering pressing charges against Kapitannikov for allowing the unlicensed driver to transport the kids.
But yesterday, there was no ill will directed at Kapitannikov as she cried for her dead son.
"Nobody could be angry with her now," said Olga Odinokova, 21, a friend of both families. Originally published on July 31, 2005

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