Feb. 22, 2022 By Allie Griffin
A fundraiser launched for the family of a 19-year-old woman killed by a teenage driver in Jackson Heights Thursday has raised nearly $20,000 in just four days.
The fundraiser aims to help cover the burial costs associated with the death of East Elmhurst resident Sara Perez.
Perez was walking on the sidewalk in front of an auto repair shop at 106-15 Northern Blvd. Thursday when she was struck by a 16-year-old boy behind the wheel of a pickup truck who was entering the lot. The 16-year-old driver, who was allegedly unlicensed, mounted the sidewalk and pinned Perez against a wall.
She was rushed to Elmhurst Hospital but couldn’t be saved.
Perez was struck while going to the store to buy cat food, according to the GoFundMe page set up by her cousin Sandy Molina. She was killed just over a block away from her home, which she shared with her father and sisters.
“Sara deeply cared for those she loved and especially animals,” Molina wrote on the page. “She would take in stray cats and rehab them in her family home providing them with love.”
Perez had taken in more than a dozen cats and kittens and was caring for them in her bedroom, according to two cat rescue groups that have since taken the majority of the animals for rehabilitation and fostering.
Perez reportedly had dreams of becoming a veterinarian, according to CBS New York.
The GoFundMe page benefitting her family had raised $19,448 by the time of publication. More than 350 people have already donated to the cause.
Perez’s older sister, writing on behalf of her family, thanked those who had donated.
“I first want to thank every single one of you who has donated to my little sister’s go fund me page, you’re helping us say goodbye to her in the way that she deserves, and we want you all to know that you are in our hearts and prayers as well,” she said in a statement posted to the fundraising page.