ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill. — At the park where Lauren Dobosz spent countless hours watching her kids cheering and playing football, members of the Oriole Park Falcons gathered Monday night, along with her brother, to remember them.
“Lauren and Tom were never not busy,” said Tyler Johns, Dobosz’s younger brother. “They took care of everyone else’s kids, even there’s, before themselves.”
Luis Hernandez coached Dobosz’s youngest son Nicky.
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“These kids always had the brightest smile on their face,” Hernandez said. “How can that be possible for them to all be here on Friday and then be gone?”
Hernandez says Nicky and his siblings, Lucas, Ella and Emma, were headed north to Minnesota for a vacation with their parents, along with Emma’s 13-year-old friend.
The crash occurred around 2 am Sunday on I-90 near mile marker 33, roughly 50 miles from Chicago.
Illinois State Police said 32-year-old Thomas Dobosz and his 31-year-old wife, Lauren, both from Rolling Meadows, were driving westbound on I-90 near Hampshire in a full-size Chevrolet van carrying five children.
According to ISP, 22-year-old Jennifer Fernandez was driving in the wrong direction on the highway “for unknown reasons” and collided head-on with the van. Both vehicles became engulfed in flames.
Lauren Dobosz and the five children were killed.
Fernandez also died, police said.
Thomas Dobosz, 32, was the sole survivor and was airlifted to Loyola University Medical Center.
Sharon Swank with the Oriole Park Falcons shared an update on his condition.
“Tom, right now, is not doing so well. Please keep him in your prayers,” Swank said. “I don’t know if he’ll make it. Hopefully, I will. If he does, he’s going to need everyone’s love and support. I’m sure this is going to be the hardest thing he’s ever had to deal with.”
Dobosz works as a carpenter and his wife was a bartender at Lulu’s Gaming in Rolling Meadows.
Lauren’s boss, Kenny Felten, spoke about Lauren’s passing.
“That was her number one love…her kids and her family,” he said. “It’s so sad it’s ended this way. I can’t believe it. We’re still in shock here.”
The family’s neighbor, David Moreno, spoke with WGN News Sunday upon hearing the news.
“The kids were very friendly,” Moreno said. “They were always talkative. We would always run into them at the supermarket.”
Having known the family for 10 years, Moreno says the loss is hitting the entire neighborhood.
Anyone interested in donating to the family’s GoFundMe can do so by clicking here.
“It’s going to impact it a lot,” Moreno said. “Especially the neighbors just because we all get along very well. We all talk and communicate. It will definitely be hard. The kids always played in the front yard and waved ‘hi.’”
Hernandez said the tragedy remains painful and difficult to comprehend.
“It’s hard,” he said. “How do you explain to your 7-year-old that his teammate won’t be coming back?”
Added Swank: “Please, everyone, hug your kids tighter tonight. Life is short and you never know what’s going to happen.”
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