On July 31st, an early morning accident claimed the lives of seven people from one Illinois family.
WLS-TV in Chicago reports that the only person to have survived the brutal collision on Interstate 90 near Hampshire, Illinois was 32-year-old Thomas Dobosz. He was rushed to Loyola University Medical Center and is currently in critical condition.
At 2:00 in the morning, Dobosz, his wife, and four of their children were riding westbound on Interstate 90 in a Chevy van that he was driving. Another child was also present. 22-year-old Jennifer Fernandez from Carpentersville was driving a gray Acura when it collided with a van in a head-on collision. Just after the collision, both vehicles were engulfed in flames.
The officials made clear that they do not yet have any answers as to why Fernandez was going the wrong way.
The police have not released the names of Lauren Dobosz’s five children involved in the accident, two 13-year-old girls, 7- and 6- year old boys, and a 5 -year old girl. All were killed at the scene along with Fernandez.
David Moreno spoke to WLS about the heartbreaking accident, saying that he lives next to the family in the Chicago suburb of Rolling Meadows. He said, “When you find out it is people you’ve known for many years, it kind of hits a little harder. Losing your family in a split-second like that is not going to be easy for anybody.”
He continued, “My understanding is one of the eldest daughters had a friend with them. I know it’s going to be devastating for the community just to know that it was somebody that people have known.”
Jean Kohlberg, a teacher at Central Road Elementary School said, “It’s just an awful tragedy, and I just can’t even express it. We would see them all the time and they would wave to me every time. It’s just very sad right now.”
Kohlberg stated, “We’re going to miss them in our school. They were such cute little shining faces every day, and they’re not going to be there now.”
Lauren Dobosz’s co-worker, Kenny Felton, also said, “She loved her kids and her husband. That was her life. He’s going to have a tough road ahead when he finds out what happened and just wishes them all the best, and anything we can do, we’ll be here for them. She was very instrumental in doing stuff for cheer and football, you could tell it was her life being a mom.”
To assist the families of collision victims with final expenses, the Rolling Meadows Police Department (RMPD) has launched the “RMPD Hope Fund.” The GoFundMe campaign has raised $32,000 so far and is hoping to reach its goal of $100,000. The second fundraising event organized by Lauren Dobosz’s parents has raised more than $24,000.
Eva and Lonnie Johns said on the GoFundMe: “We are at a loss for words for this tragic event. We have lost our beautiful daughter, Lauren, and our precious grandkids. We are praying for the health of our son-in-law, who is in ICU at the hospital. We ask that you keep our family in your prayers during this time.”
A community vigil in support of the family was held at Oriole Park in Chicago.