Already mourning the loss of members of the Rolling Meadows family, those who trained with Thomas Dobosz learned Wednesday that he also died from injuries sustained in a wrong-way accident last weekend in McHenry County.
A 32-year-old Rolling Meadows father of four was treated for serious injuries at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood after being flown there in a helicopter early Sunday.
He was pronounced dead at 11:17 a.m. Wednesday at the hospital, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. An autopsy has not yet been performed.
Illinois State Police and the organizer of a GoFundMe page for the family also confirmed Dobosz’s death Wednesday.
“It is with a heavy heart that we come today with an update on Tom. Tom has received his angel wings and is now with his wonderful wife Lauren and precious children. We ask that you keep this family in your prayers. All proceeds to go to family,” wrote Lisa Torres of the Oriole Park Falcons, a family-involved youth football and cheer travel program on Chicago’s Northwest Side.
On their way to vacation at a family cabin in Minnesota, Dobosz was at the wheel of the family’s 2005 Chevrolet van traveling westbound on Interstate 90 near Hampshire when it was struck by a 2010 Acura TSX sedan traveling in the wrong direction. State troopers responded at 02:11 Sunday to the scene, where the vehicles were engulfed in flames.
Six passengers in the van were killed: 31-year-old Lauren Dobosz, her four children — 13-year-old Emma, 7-year-old Lucas, 6-year-old Nicholas and 5-year-old Ella — and Katriona Koziara, 13 years old, was a family friend.
The driver of the Acura, 22-year-old Jennifer Fernandez of Carpentersville, also died. State police have said she was traveling eastbound in the westbound lanes “for unknown reasons.”
Kasia Koziara, Katriona’s mother, told the Daily Herald on Wednesday that she is making funeral arrangements and hopes to have a memorial service at Rolling Meadows park soon. Known to family and friends as Kat, the teenager was a student teacher who led classes and mentored students at the Prospect Heights-based Breaking program, a break dance group that offers dance classes and workshops.
“He is very grateful for supporting us as Katriona was and will always be loved and remembered by many,” said her mother. “She deserves the best salvation I can do for her life and her heavenly future.”
On Wednesday afternoon, friends of Thomas Dobosz gathered for an impromptu memorial during football practice at Oriole Park in Chicago. It was the same place where Monday’s balloon release memorial was held for the rest of the Dobosz family and for Kat Koziara.
“Tom was very good with his hands as far as being a carpenter, a mechanic, an electrical worker — he was like a Jack of all trades,” said cheer coach Wanda Perez of Chicago.
According to Perez, Lauren and Thomas Dobosz met and were valedictorians at Ridgewood Community High School in Norridge. The couple later moved and raised their family in Rolling Meadows to help Lauren’s grandparents.
“They were so loving and caring and they gave,” said Perez, her friends with Lauren and Tom Dobosz in 2013. “Our friendship is longer than training.”
A Dobosz family member confirmed Wednesday that three online fundraising pages have been set up on GoFundMe to help pay for funeral and other expenses.
The Oriole Park Falcons fundraiser, gofundme.com/f/dobosz-family-funeral-expenseshas raised more than $98,000 for the Dobosz family.
Rolling Meadows Police Department Hope Fund, gofundme.com/f/rmpd-hope-fundhe has raised more than $43,000.
Page founded by Lauren Dobosz’s parents, gofundme.com/f/tom-and-lauren-dobosz-familyhe has raised nearly $26,000.
“I can’t imagine the pain and suffering that the Dobosz and Johns families are feeling,” Perez said. “I also send my deepest condolences to the family of Jennifer Fernandez, because I can’t imagine how they feel and what they are thinking. They have also suffered a loss.”
Funeral arrangements are pending.
• Daily Herald staff writer Scott C. Morgan contributed to this report.