CHICAGO (CBS) — The crowd was overwhelmed with unimaginable grief at a memorial and balloon release in the city’s Far Northwest on Monday evening.
Relatives and friends gathered together to remember five members of the same family died in a horrific car accident over the weekend. The father of the family was still in the hospital, fighting for his life on Monday night.
Starting with cheerleading and football, Oriole Park has truly been a second home for families. On Monday evening, those who know and love this family decided that coming to the park was the only right decision.
Lauren Dobos was a dedicated cheerleading coach at the park at 5500 N. Olcott Ave., and her husband Tom helped with the football. Four of their children were active participants in the Falcon youth sports program.
“Lauren and Tom were never busy,” Lauren’s younger brother said.
Brother Lauren addressed a large group of relatives and friends who had gathered for a balloon launch and celebration of life.
“As soon as I set foot in this park, I saw every one of you guys here and broke even more,” he said.
“They had wonderful kids – the cutest kids ever,” family friend Cindy Cisneros added. “It’s unimaginable what happened to them.”
Lauren and all her children – 13-year-old Emma, 8-year-old Lucas, 7-year-old Nicky and 5-year-old Ella – along with a friend named 13-year-old Catriona. Koziara, of Cat fame, died in a fiery accident Sunday night on the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway in rural McHenry County.
The minibus they were in was hit 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. Lonely, ”said Neilis Zenino’s friend.
“I wish she was still here,” friend Gianna Quinones said.
Kat’s friends also visited the memorial on Monday. They remembered her as a great break dancer and an even better friend.
“She deserved much more,” said Natalya Lenkevich, “and she was too young.”
Tom Dobos was airlifted to Loyola University Maywood Medical Center with serious injuries. He stayed there on Monday evening.
We were told that the family and Kat were returning from a vacation in Minnesota at the time of the crash.
The Rolling Meadows Foundation of Hope is also accepting donations for the families of the victims. this is GoFundMe.