An Illinois family was almost completely wiped out July 31 in an early morning accident in which seven people were killed.
The accident on Interstate 90 near Hampshire, Illinois, left Thomas Dobosz, 32, as its sole survivor, according to WLS-TV in Chicago.
Dobosz, who was taken to Loyola University Medical Center, was listed in critical condition, according to the report.
The accident took place around 2 a.m. when Dobosz, with his wife and four children as well as another child as passengers, was driving a Chevy van westbound on I-90.
The van was struck head-on by a gray Acura driven by Jennifer Fernandez, 22, of Carpentersville.
Both vehicles burst into flames upon impact. Officials said they do not know why Fernandez was going the wrong way.
Fernandez was dead at the scene, as were Lauren Dobosz and five children: two 13-year-old girls, 7- and 6-year-old boys, and a 5-year-old girl. Police did not release the names of the children killed.
The dead included Lauren Dobosz, 31, of Rolling Meadows, and five children: two 13-year-old girls, a 7-year-old boy, a 6-year-old boy, and a 5-year-old girl. Their names have not been released. https://t.co/PmR1ujgrRA
— FOX 32 News (@fox32news) July 31, 2022
“When you find out it is people you’ve known for many years, it kind of hits a little harder,” David Moreno, who lives next to the family in the Chicago suburb of Rolling Meadows, told WLS. “Losing your family in a split-second like that is not going to be easy for anybody.”
“My understanding is one of the eldest daughters had a friend with them,” Moreno said. “I know it’s going to be devastating for the community just to know that it was somebody that people have known.”
“It’s just an awful tragedy, and I just can’t even express,” said Jean Kohlberg, who taught the children at Central Road Elementary School. “We would see them all the time and they would wave to me every time. It’s just very sad right now.”
A community vigil for the family was held at Oriole Park in Chicago.
“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,” Kohlberg said.
Lauren Dobosz, a long time cheer coach with the Oriole Park Falcons, was killed along with her 4 children over the weekend in wrong way collision on I-90 near Hampshire. Her husband Tom is hospitalized at Loyola. A 13 y/o family friend in their van also died. @WGNNews pic.twitter.com/tpu1DsyVye
— Dana Rebik (@DanaRebikWGN) August 1, 2022
“She loved her kids and her husband,” Kenny Felton, a co-worker of Lauren Dobosz, told WLS. “That was her life.”
“He’s going to have a tough road ahead when he finds out what happened and just wish them all the best, and anything we can do, we’ll be here for them,” Felton said.
“She was very instrumental in doing stuff for cheer and football, you could tell it was her life being a mom,” he said.
The Rolling Meadows Police Department announced it had set up the “RMPD Hope Fund” to raise money to cover funeral expenses and other costs for the crash victims’ families.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the GoFundMe campaign had raised about $32,000 toward its goal of $100,000.
Tom and Lauren Dobosz Family https://t.co/5i2BpvSXOB
— Nicole ❣️🌈 (@ashleynicolewx3) August 1, 2022
A separate fundraiser organized by Lauren Dobosz’s parents far exceeded its goal of $5,000, with more than $24,000 in donations by Wednesday afternoon.
“We are at a loss for words for this tragic event,” Eva and Lonnie Johns said on GoFundMe. “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.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.