Toy drive scheduled for young children of Nicetown fatal hit-and-run victim

 A memorial honoring Ceeanna Pate (right) sits at the corner of Clarissa and Brunner streets in Nicetown during an October vigil in her memory. (Brian Hickey/WHYY)

A memorial honoring Ceeanna Pate (right) sits at the corner of Clarissa and Brunner streets in Nicetown during an October vigil in her memory. (Brian Hickey/WHYY)

When Ceeanna Pate died of injuries suffered during an Oct. 4 hit-and-run, she left behind her 4-year-old daughter Anastasia and 2-year-old son Duan.

That’s why Elaine McGuire-Pierce, president and founder of Women In The Trades, has scheduled a toy and donation drive at Barbara’s Hall, Broad and Oxford streets, from 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday.

“We would like to do something special for the children she loved so much,” explained McGuire-Pierce.

Easing the pain

Still grieving over the loss of his 19-year-old daughter, Steven Pate said this week that the event will help at a particularly tough time for his family, and Ceeanna’s children in particular.

“They’re resilient, but they feel like their mother isn’t around,” he said, noting counselling has helped in that regard. Anastasia “is in school now, and she’s adjusted to that. Some days, I’m so overcome with emotion that I put a mask on, a facade, for my grandchildren.”

While they don’t know the details of their mother’s death, the children have been told that “mommy has gone to a big castle where she’s preparing Christmas presents for you, and you’ll see her there again one day,” he said.

As for Friday’s event, he added that, “I’m happy that people decided to be so kind to me and my family. It shows that people do care at this time of year. It helps ease the pain a little bit.”

Criminal details

The alleged hit-and-run driver, 45-year-old Terrie Fleming of Fern Rock, turned herself into investigators later that month, posted bail and is awaiting a preliminary hearing on Jan. 22.

Fleming was charged with homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment in this case.

Court documents also state that Fleming was arrested in July 2009 for driving under the influence, a charge for which she entered the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program.

For more information about Friday night’s event, contact Elaine McGuire-Pierce.

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