South River community holds vigil for 14-year-old bicyclist killed in hit-and-run

The vigil for Bryan Barbosa happened on the same day as the Middlesex County prosecutor announced an arrest in connection to the incident.

News 12 Staff

Jul 8, 2023, 10:21 AM

Updated 343 days ago


A vigil was held in South River Saturday as a community remembered the 14-year-old bicyclist who was killed in a hit-and-run.
Family and friends paused to remember the life of Bryan Barbosa.
Barbosa's parents spoke at the vigil and to News 12 New Jersey through a translator.
"Despite having such a broken heart, she feels very, very lucky to be such a loved mother today," said Aline Filipe, translating for Ana Taotoro, Barbosa's mother.
Barbosa's family, friends, classmates and neighbors all gathered on Whitehead and Russell avenues, the place where he died.
"I had no friends at all, and he was the first kid, he helped me a lot. He helped me go through this. We learned English together," said Barbosa's friend, Brianna Costa.
Hundreds of mourners walked from the scene of Barbosa's death to South River High School, where he would have entered his freshmen year.
"I just wish he could have lived the future he wanted to live," Costa added.
Barbosa's family called on justice due to the nature of the crash. Police say the driver hit him while he rode his bike and continued to run him over while leaving the scene.
"Accidents are accidents and they happen, but leaving a kid to die in the street is completely different," said family friend Dawn Guindi.
"I really hope that justice is made, and we can get better roads and safety for kids, especially right now during summer," Costa said.
The vigil was held as the Middlesex County prosecutor said a man was arrested in connection to the fatal hit-and-run.
The prosecutor said 63-year-old Michael Arena, of South River, was behind the wheel of the white van Friday afternoon when he struck and killed Barbosa.
Arena is being held at the Middlesex County Correctional Center. Authorities said he admitted to driving the vehicle at the time of the crash.
Arena, who was questioned at his home, now faces charges of aggravated manslaughter and leaving the scene of a motor vehicle crash.

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