Syracuse, N.Y. — Alliant Ndeze said he will never forget last seeing his younger brother just hours before the Henninger student’s fatal collision with a car while on a motorcycle last weekend in Syracuse.
The crash happened at about 10 p.m. Saturday near the intersection of West Onondaga and Rich streets, according to Syracuse police. Otiniel Ndeze Imani, 19, was later pronounced dead at Upstate University Hospital, police said. His funeral will be Tuesday.
“It’s somebody you just saw hours ago and then they are just gone,” Alliant Ndeze said. “It’s not normal. He died when he was still so young. It’s been tough. Our family is just trying to be there for each other.”
Otiniel was on pace to graduate from Henninger High School in August, and planned on attending Onondaga Community College in the fall to pursue a career as a mechanic, his brother said.
“He always wanted to fix things that were broken,” Alliant Ndeze said. “That was his mindset.”
Alliant Ndeze said his brother had only been riding his motorcycle for a short time, but he had plenty of experience working with cars and motorcycles.
“After he would fix someone’s car or motorcycle, he would always test them out,” Alliant Ndeze said. “He was safe. He always followed the rules.”
Otiniel was one of the five children of Emmanuel and Sarafina Ndeze. Alliant said his family belonged to the Westvale Seventh-Day Adventist Church, and faith was very important to his brother.
“We are Christian people,” he said. “My brother loved singing Christian gospel music. He was always cheerful. He was always willing to help others.”
Alliant said his family spent time in refugee camps in Uganda and in the Congo before coming to the United States.
“We have an entire African community that is coming out to support us,” he said. “It’s giving us strength.”
A funeral for Otiniel is scheduled for 11 a.m., Tuesday at Farone & Son Inc. Funeral Home, on Park Street in Syracuse. Calling hours will be the same day from 10 to 11 a.m.
Staff writer James McClendon covers breaking news, crime and public safety. Have a tip, a story idea, a question or a comment? Reach him at 914-204-2815 or [email protected].