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Douglaston man killed in car crash: 26-yr.-old remembered by 400 as multi-talented, adventurous

Whether it was because of his infectious laugh, his off-beat comments or his big heart, the 26-year-old Douglaston resident was impossible to forget.Those close to Heicklen, who died in a traffic accident last week, remember him as adventurous, artistic, generous and loving. "There was nothing Elliott couldn't do and there was nothing Elliott wouldn't do for you," Heicklen's mother Debra wrote in her son's eulogy.Heicklen's friends and family recounted their fondest memories of Heicklen as they mourned his sudden death April 9. Heicklen was riding his new motorcycle just before 5 p.m. when he collided with a car at the intersection of Francis Lewis Boulevard and 46th Avenue in Flushing. Heicklen was pronounced dead on the scene.The 88-year-old driver of the sedan, Werner Kleeman of Flushing, was traveling west on 46th Avenue when he struck Heicklen, who was heading north on Francis Lewis Boulevard, according to police. He was issued a summons for failing to stop at a stop sign, the 111th Precinct said.Police were still investigating the cause of the crash.More than 400 people attended Heicklen's funeral at Sinai Chapels in Fresh Meadows Sunday, his brother Robert said. "We filled every room in the parlor," he said. "By the time the procession had ended some people were still lined outside waiting to get in."It was a turnout of support that most people never see, his brother said."It was so hard to hate him," he said. "When you met him, you remembered him. He'd make you laugh and you would just love him for it."Heicklen lived with his family in Douglaston. Heicklen had just begun his first year as a carpenter's apprentice and was excited about the future, his brother said.A gifted artist and self-taught musician, Heicklen was "absolutely skilled at anything and everything to do with his hands," his brother said.Heicklen was also a talented athlete who excelled in soccer and basketball, said Robin Corn, principal of Highland Elementary School in Fresh Meadows, which he attended for two years. The school established an Elliott Heicklen Memorial Athletic Award that will be awarded to a graduating student who demonstrates outstanding dedication and participation in team sports, Corn said.The 2008 CVR motorcycle Heicklen was riding was something he had wanted for years. He had owned the bike for just 10 days before his death. The motorcycle was "his getaway, his Mexico, it was his first gift to himself," his brother said.The morning of the accident was the first warm day of the season and Heicklen could not wait to go for a ride, Robert said.A motorcade of more than 50 cars streamed along Francis Lewis Boulevard Friday night to hold a candlelight vigil in Heicklen's memory. Friends and family lit candles and taped bouquets of flowers, letters and a photograph of Heicklen to the lamppost near where he died. Robert Heicklen said his family hopes to place some kind of permanent memorial at the site of the accident."It's permanent to us. It's permanent to me whether he's there for it now or not," he said. "It would be something we could see forever."Heicklen is survived by his father Gary; his mother Debra; his younger brother Robert; his grandparents Beverly and Norman Lisbin of Douglaston and Joyce and Herbert Wetter of Florida; and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.

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