By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 1/13/14
The Philly lacrosse community is mourning the death of Neumann University freshman lax player Dante DeSimone, an Upper Darby graduate who was killed Sunday night while walking on a Baltimore Pike sidewalk after being struck following a two-car collision in Clifton Heights.
DeSimone, 18, was walking with a friend, Tim Robison, in front of the McDonald’s in the 500 block of Baltimore Pike at about 9:35 when the accident occurred, Clifton Heights Chief Tim Rockenbach said.
Rockenbach said a pickup collided with a sedan making a left turn in front of the McDonald’s and the impact sent the pickup barreling into DeSimone and a friend who had just walked from the parking lot to the sidewalk.
Rescue workers transported DeSimone to Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby where he was pronounced dead. Robison, also 18 and a senior at Upper Darby, was transported to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where his condition was upgraded today from critical to serious, according to Upper Darby athletic director Holly Farnese.
DeSimone, of Upper Darby, was a co-captain and a midfielder/face-off specialist for Upper Darby last year. He was set to go back to school this week to begin practice for the spring season at Neumann.
DeSimone also played ice hockey at Upper Darby.
A memorial vigil is being held tonight in Clifton Heights at 7:30 pm in the Home Depot lot, across the street from the McDonald’s.
Rockenbach said that no charges have been filed, but that the investigation is ongoing.
In a written statement, Farnese remembered DeSimone as a standout student-athlete:
“Dante DeSimone played lacrosse and ice hockey at Upper Darby High School for four years. He had a brilliant career on the field and the ice and received a scholarship to attend Neumann University to continue athletic participation at the collegiate level.
“Dante was a leader not only in athletics but in the academic endeavors he pursued. His talent and skill, driven by his personal dedication to excellence; his outstanding sportsmanship and his desire to win could not help but be recognized by his fellow players, classmates, teachers, coaches and the community. Dante strived to perfect his technique and demonstrated selfless commitment. His humility put the good of the team first, encouraging teammates, never seeking to be rewarded. He was content with what he could give to others. Dante represented all that is ‘Royal’ in athletics.
“On behalf of the entire Upper Darby athletic community, I express our sincere sympathy to the DeSimone Family.”
DeSimone was majoring in sports and entertainment management as a freshman at Neumann.
DeSimone competed in the Philly Showcase in 2012 in the Non-committed Senior Day and told Phillylacrosse.com that he would be happy to play college lacrosse at any school that was interested in his skills.
“I would just like somewhere that fits,” he said at the November event. “I will take what I can get. I will see what I can do from here. You just have to practice. I you want it, you can play no matter what.”