A mother, her four children and two others were killed early Sunday morning when a vehicle was hit head-on by a driver the wrong way along Interstate 90, according to authorities. McHenry County.
The day after the tragedy, candles and stuffed toys lined up under a tree outside the Rolling Meadows home where the family lived.
Neighbor Jean Petryniec said: ‘It’s a lamp, a candle and hopefully in heaven they will see it.
Lauren Dobosz and her four children – Emma, 13, Lucas, 7, Nicholas, 6, and Ella, 5, were killed when a driver in the wrong lane crashed into their truck on the Interstate state 90 just west of the Illinois 23rd Street intersection near Hampshire about 2:11 a.m.
Both vehicles were engulfed in flames upon impact. Another 13-year-old boy in the van, who was also the driver of the van, died at the scene. The driver was identified as 22-year-old Jennifer Fernandez, of Carpentersville, according to Illinois State Police.
Thomas Dobosz, 32, who was driving the truck, was seriously injured and taken to an area hospital.
Neighbors said the family was on vacation when the tragedy struck.
Lauren works as a bartender at Lulus, a gaming establishment across the street from her home in Rolling Meadows.
The facility’s general manager describes the mother-of-four as a “very friendly” and “extroverted” person – someone he immediately befriended.
“I was shocked,” said Kenny Felten, recounting his reaction when he learned Lauren and her children had died in the crash. “I was shaking, I couldn’t believe it. You never think that someone you know would be a part of such a tragic event. Here we are.”
Despite being adored by her peers, Lauren remains passionate and spends most of her free time working as a cheerleader for the Oriole Park Falcons.
“She talked about it a lot, it was a big passion of hers,” says Felten. “We have to miss her for that. It’s difficult with everything that’s happened right now. Not having to think about it, but we have to remember she loves her children, her family, is a part of it. of their families, fundraisers for fundraisers and the like.”
Dawn Brand, whose daughter attends the same school as two 13-year-old girls, said “everyone is going through a very difficult time”, adding that “all the kids are devastated.”
“I know they’ve been very involved in the community,” she said. “Everybody said they were a family that loved each other very much and were also involved in sports and other things. Everyone felt it was very bad.”
Lauren’s cheer squad has been established GoFundMe mobilized donations for the funeral, remembering the mother who was “full of laughter” and her children “bitter, sweet, sassy”.
“Lauren always makes a great impression on everyone she meets, she’s full of life, laughter and always a good time,” the team’s post reads. “We’ll miss you Lauren and your sweet, sassy, sweet kids and all your dear friends. We’ll shine brightly this year. We’ll miss you!”
Illinois State Police investigators are working to determine why the driver, Fernandez, went the wrong way. An autopsy is expected to take place in the coming days.
The District 15 Community Unified School, where the children attended, said in a press release, “We are simply heartbroken, shocked and saddened by the tragic passing of five students and a parent.” Mental health professionals will be available throughout the week to assist anyone struggling, according to county officials.
The district’s caregiver support will also take place August 2 to provide parents and staff with information and support on how to help children “during this difficult time,” according to the district.