CHICAGO (CBS) – A crowd was struck with unimaginable grief at a memorial and balloon release in the far northwest of the city on Monday night.
Relatives and friends gathered to remember five members of one family killed in a horrific car accident this weekend. The father of the family was still in hospital fighting for his life on Monday evening.
From cheerleading to football, Oriole Park was truly a second home for families. On Monday night, those who know and love the family felt that coming to the park was the only thing that felt right.
Lauren Dobosz was a dedicated cheerleading coach at the park at 5500 N. Olcott Ave., while her husband, Tom, helped out with football. Their four children were active members of the Falcon Youth Sports Program.
“Lauren and Tom were never busy,” Lauren’s younger brother said.
Lauren’s brother spoke to a large group of family and friends who gathered for a balloon release and a celebration of life.
“Once I set foot in this park, I saw every single one of you here, and I fell even further,” he said.
“They had the most amazing kids – the sweetest kids ever,” added family friend Cindy Cisneros. “It’s unimaginable what happened to them.”
Lauren and all of her children – Emma, 13, Lucas, 8, Nicky, 7, and Ella, 5 – as well as a friend identified as Katriona, 13, Koziara, known to Kat – died in a Sunday night fire accident on the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway in rural McHenry County.
The van they were in was hit head-on by a driver who was driving in the wrong direction. This driver – Jennifer Fernandez, 22, of Carpentersville – also died.
Thomas is the only survivor.
“Crushed. Abandoned. Alone,” said her friend Neylisa Zenino.
“I wish she was still here,” her friend Gianna Quinones said.
Kat’s friends also attended the memorial on Monday. They remembered her as a great breakdancer and best friend.
“She deserved so much more,” Natalia Lenkiewicz said, “and she was just too young.”
Tom Dobosz was airlifted to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood with serious injuries. I stayed there Monday night.
We are told that the family and Kat were returning from a vacation in Minnesota at the time of the accident.
The City of Rolling Meadows Hope Fund is also accepting donations for families of victims in this GoFundMe.