Already grieving the loss of family members from Rolling Meadows, the people who coached Thomas Dobosz learned on Wednesday that he too had died from injuries sustained in an oncoming crash last weekend in McHenry County.
The 32-year-old Rolling Meadows father-of-four was being treated for serious injuries at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood after being airlifted there by 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. The autopsy has not yet been performed.
Illinois State Police and the organizer of a GoFundMe page for the family also confirmed Dobosz’s death on Wednesday.
“We come with a heavy heart today with an update on Tom. Tom has gained 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 will go to the family,” wrote Lisa Torres of the Oriole Park Falcons, a youth football and pep program the family was involved in in Chicago’s northwest neighborhood.
En route to a vacation at a Minnesota family cabin, Dobosz was driving the family’s 2005 Chevrolet pickup truck traveling west on Interstate 90 near Hampshire when it was hit by a traveling 2010 Acura TSX sedan. in the wrong direction. State troopers responded at 2:11 a.m. Sunday to the scene, where the vehicles were engulfed in flames.
Six passengers in the van were killed: Lauren Dobosz, 31, her four children — Emma, 13, Lucas, 7, Nicholas, 6, and Ella, 5 — and Katriona Koziara, 13, who was a friend of the family.
Acura driver Jennifer Fernandez, 22, of Carpentersville, also died. State police only said they were moving east into westbound lanes “for unknown reasons.”
Kasia Koziara, Katriona’s mother, told the Daily Herald on Wednesday that she was planning a funeral and hopes to hold a memorial service soon at a Rolling Meadows park. Affectionately known to family and friends as Kat, the teenager was a student teacher who ran classes and mentored students from the Prospect Heights-based Breaking Program, a breakdancing group that offers dance lessons and workshops .
“It’s much appreciated to support us as Katriona has been and always will be loved and remembered by many,” her mother said. “She deserves the best farewell I can give to celebrate her life and her heavenly future.”
Friends of Thomas Dobosz gathered for an impromptu memorial during a football practice at Chicago’s Oriole Park on Wednesday night. It is at the same location that a balloon launch memorial was held on Monday for the rest of the Dobosz and Kat Koziara family.
“Tom was very good with his hands as a carpenter, a mechanic, an electrician – he was like a jack-of-all-trades,” said cheer coach Wanda Perez of Chicago.
According to Perez, Lauren and Thomas Dobosz met and fell in love at Ridgewood Community High School in Norridge. The couple then moved and raised their family in Rolling Meadows to help support Lauren’s grandparents.
“They were so loving, caring and generous,” said Perez, who befriended Lauren and Tom Dobosz in 2013. “Our friendship extended beyond coaching.”
A family member of the Dobosz confirmed on Wednesday that three online fundraising pages have been set up on GoFundMe to help with funeral and other expenses.
The Oriole Park Falcons fundraiser, gofundme.com/f/dobosz-family-funeral-expensesraised over $98,000 for the Dobosz family.
The Rolling Meadows Police Department Hope Fund, gofundme.com/f/rmpd-hope-fundraised over $43,000.
A page created by the parents of Lauren Dobosz, gofundme.com/f/tom-and-lauren-dobosz-familyraised nearly $26,000.
“I can’t imagine the pain and suffering the Dobosz and Johns families are feeling,” Perez said. “I also send my sincere condolences to the family of Jennifer Fernandez, as I cannot imagine how they feel and what they think. They also suffered a loss.”
Funeral arrangements are pending.
• Daily Herald editor Scott C. Morgan contributed to this report.