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‘Loving family:’ Mother, 4 of 7 children killed in wrong-way crash remember – NBC Chicago

A mother, her four children and two others were killed early Sunday when a vehicle was hit head-on by a wrong-way driver along Interstate 90 in McHenry County, authorities said.

A day after the tragedy, candles and stuffed toys lined the base of a tree outside the Rolling Meadows house where the family lived.

“It’s a light, a candle and I hope in heaven they will see it,” said neighbor Jean Petryniec.

Lauren Dobosz and her four children – Emma, ​​13, Lucas, 7, Nicholas, 6, and Ella, 5, died when a wrong-way driver rammed their van on Interstate 90 just outside west of Illinois Route 23 interchange near Hampshire about 2:11 a.m.

Both vehicles were engulfed in flames on impact. Another 13-year-old boy who was in the van, along with the driver of the car, died at the scene. The driver was identified as Jennifer Fernandez, 22, of Carpentersville, according to Illinois State Police.

Thomas Dobosz, 32, who was driving the van, was seriously injured and was airlifted to an area hospital.

Neighbors say the family was on vacation when the tragedy happened.

Lauren worked as a bartender at Lulus, a game room downstairs from her home in Rolling Meadows.

The facility’s general manager described the mother-of-four as a “very friendly” and “outgoing” person – someone he immediately befriended.

“I was shocked,” Kenny Felten said, recounting his response after learning that Lauren and her children had died in the crash. “I was shaking, I couldn’t believe it. You never think someone you know is going to be part of such a tragic event. Here we are.”

While well-liked by her co-workers, Lauren was passionate and spent much of her free time as a cheerleading coach for the Oriole Park Falcons.

“She talked about it a lot, it was a big passion for her,” Felten said. “We have to remember her for that. It’s difficult right now with everything that’s happened. Not to think about it, but we have to remember that she loved her children, her family, being a part of their families, raising money for fundraisers and stuff like that.”

Dawn Brand, whose daughter attended school with the two 13-year-old daughters, said ‘everyone is going through a very difficult time’, adding that ‘the children are all devastated’.

“I know they were very involved in the whole community,” she said. “Everyone said they were a very loving family and involved in the sport and all that too. Everyone takes it very badly.”

Lauren’s cheerleading squad set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for funeral costs, remembering the mother as “full of life and laughter” and her children as “lively, sweet and sassy”.

“Lauren always made a great impression on everyone she met, she was full of life, laughter and always had a good time,” the team’s post read. “We will miss you Lauren and your spunky, sweet and sassy kids and all of your beloved friends. We will be shining bright this year. We will miss you!”

Illinois State Police investigators are working to determine why the driver, Fernandez, was going in the wrong direction. Autopsies are expected to take place in the coming days.

Community Consolidated School District 15, which the children attended, said in a press release: “We are simply heartbroken, and both in shock and in mourning at the tragic loss of five students and one. of their parents.” Mental health professionals will be on hand throughout the week to provide assistance to anyone dealing with the loss, according to district officials.

Caregiver support training will also be held Aug. 2 to provide parents and staff with information and support on how to help children “during this difficult time,” according to the district.

NBC Chicago

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