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Funeral Tuesday for 11-year-old Des Plaines girl killed crossing street
By Ames Boykin | Daily Herald Staff

Alexis "Lexi" Porreca, 11, died this week after an SUV struck her near her Des Plaines home.


Photo courtesy of Porreca family

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Published: 7/11/2008 12:05 AM | Updated: 7/11/2008 8:42 AM

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Services were set Thursday for an 11-year-old Des Plaines girl killed this week crossing a busy street after a family outing to the riverfront near her home, as family and friends continued to grieve her loss.

Alexis "Lexi" Porreca died of her injuries Tuesday after an SUV hit her crossing River Road at Oakwood Avenue after she let go of her father's arm and fell behind him.

Visitation will be from 3-9 p.m. Monday at G.L. Hills Funeral Home, 745 Graceland Ave., Des Plaines. A Mass will begin at 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Zachary Catholic Church, 567 W. Algonquin Road, Des Plaines.

Her father, Anthony, had crossed once to drop off some bicycles, and then returned to carry his 3-year-old twin daughter and son on a second trip across the four-lane road, family members said.

"He told her, 'Lexi, hold onto my arm or daddy's shirt,'" said Lexi's grandmother, Anne Lanam, of Des Plaines. "Usually, people (drivers) would let them cross. They had done it a million times."

The driver of the SUV that hit her was cited for failure to yield to a pedestrian.

The family loved to head to the edge of the Des Plaines River to feed the ducks and geese stale bread.

Central Elementary School, 1526 Thacker St., will have social workers to help with grief counseling from 1:30-4:30 p.m. next Wednesday.

Central also is accepting donations to help the family in lieu of flowers, Principal Jan Rashid said. Checks can be sent to the school or dropped off.

Lexi Porreca had moved to Des Plaines from Lake in the Hills with her family last August.

She played the violin, and participated in the gifted program at Central. She also acted with the Christian Youth Theater group.

Lindsey Branson, who works with the theater group, taught Porreca last fall in a 10-week class where they did dramatic readings of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic "Treasure Island." She played a pirate.

"She always came prepared," Branson said. "She was one of the ones who always had her lines done."

Besides her interest in the arts, Porreca loved animals and wanted to volunteer at an animal hospital.

"She was the kind of person who if she saw a firefly and it was hurt, she would cry," her grandma said.

She also loved hearts, so her family was touched Thursday when a puddle in the shape of a heart appeared on her grandparents' driveway.