22 Aug 2014
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River Dell Students Remember Oradell Teen Killed on Highway

River Dell students mourned the loss of Rafael "Raff" Acosta, who was struck and killed while walking on Route 4 Saturday night. Grief counselors were made available at the high school.

River Dell Students Remember Oradell Teen Killed on Highway

The River Dell family lost one of its own late Saturday night after 17-year-old Rafael "Raff" Acosta was struck and killed by a vehicle while walking on westbound Route 4 near Hackensack Avenue.

Acosta, a senior at River Dell High School, was a member of RDTV and resident of Oradell.

“It is a tragic loss that remains under investigation by Bergen County authorities,” River Dell Superintendent of Schools Patrick Fletcher said in a statement. “We have mobilized district personnel as well as personnel from neighboring school districts to be available to students, staff and the community, who may need counseling.”

The regional school district has been offering grief counseling to students through the Bergen County Flight Team, with approximately 30 to 40 students taking advantage of the counselors earlier this morning.

Students turned to Twitter after learning of Acosta's death, sharing memories and condolences under the hashtag #RIPRAF, referring to the teen's nickname, Raff. 

"I'll never forget the way he shined, his soul was just filled with love and he had such a caring heart," Noelle Steimie wrote on Twitter Monday night. 

Mo Jaloudi wrote, "Not only did we share a school, but we also shared friends. So sad."

"It's been a difficult day," Fletcher said. "We've had counselors available from our own staff, from other Bergen County school district staffs to meet with the students as needed during the course of the day. It's not been an easy day but one that I think people responded to as best they could. I think it will get better each day and still be able to honor the loss that we had.

Acosta's death is still under investigation by the Bergen County Police Department. Route 4 west for more than three hours after the incident as they interviewed witnesses. It is unclear why Acosta was walking on the highway Saturday night. 

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