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Tears flowed for a Middle Village teen at an emotional funeral led by his broken−hearted uncle who recalled the life of the talented 16−year−old killed last week by a suspected drunk driver in a stolen car.
Some 400 people turned out at Resurrection Ascension Church in Middle Village to bid farewell to Robert Ogle, the Brooklyn Technical High School student who was praised for his loyalty, creativity and friendship.
“He had a knack for friendship the way other people have skills in carpentry or language,” said Monsignor Sean Ogle, the uncle who conducted the funeral mass, his voice faltering occasionally.
Robert, 16, was a football player, an avid member of the school’s debate society and a volunteer at the Queens Hall of Science. He was walking home from a friend’s birthday party early Feb. 1 in Middle Village when he was struck by a silver Kia that police said was driven by Kenneth Guyear, 27.
Robert was pronounced dead at the scene. His friend, 20−year−old Brooklyn resident Alex Paul, died later at Elmhurst Hospital.
Ogle said his nephew recently attended a dodgeball game at the high school of a childhood friend.
“He didn’t just show up, he made T−shirts for the entire team,” Ogle said, noting the teen had fashioned them after the Average Joes, the team in the 2003 comedy film “Dodgeball.”
Though Robert’s team was eliminated, he was still in high spirits when he returned home.
“He said, ‘We were the Below−Average Joes, I’m afraid,’ ” Ogle said.
Robert’s friends and classmates also gathered on the social networking Web site Facebook to share their shock and sadness.
“Robert was always the peacekeeper. He volunteered to make our team hoodies for us,” wrote classmate Heba Pugachevsky−Zielkowski. “He was always so nice to everyone, telling everyone that they did great and downplaying himself. I can’t imagine a better teammate.”
Students at the high school plan to hold a basketball tournament in Robert’s honor, Brooklyn Tech’s staff said.
Guyear, who the New York Post said had skipped bail on a Brooklyn drunk driving charge, was charged with DWI, theft and criminally negligent homicide, the DA said. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of the charges.
“I was at a party. I had five or six vodka drinks and took two Xanax pills. I stole the car that was parked on the street. I drove the car and saw the pedestrians, but I didn’t think I hit anybody,” Guyear allegedly told police, District Attorney Richard Brown said. “I kept driving and then stopped the car and looked for blood on the car. I kept driving and the police stopped me.”
Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e−mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 154.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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