Already mourning the loss of members of a Rolling Meadows family, people who coached with Thomas Dobosz learned Wednesday he, too, has died as a result of sustained injuries in a wrong-way 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 flown there by helicopter early Sunday.
He was pronounced dead at 11:17 am Wednesday at the hospital, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. An autopsy has not been performed yet.
Illinois State Police and the organizer of a GoFundMe page for the family also confirmed Dobosz’s death Wednesday.
“We come with a heavy heart today with an update on Tom. Tom has gained his angel wings and is now with his amazing wife Lauren and precious children. We ask that you keep this family in your prayers. All proceeds are going to the family ,” wrote Lisa Torres of the Oriole Park Falcons, a youth travel football and program that the family was involved in cheer on the 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 west on Interstate 90 near Hampshire when it was struck by a 2010 Acura TSX sedan traveling in the wrong direction. State troopers responded at 2:11 am 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 13-year-old Katriona Koziara, who was a family friend.
The driver of the Acura, 22-year-old Jennifer Fernandez of Carpentersville, also died. State police have only said she was traveling east in the westbound lanes “for unknown reasons.”
Kasia Koziara, mother of Katriona, told the Daily Herald Wednesday she is making funeral arrangements and hopes to have a memorial ceremony at a Rolling Meadows park soon. Affectionately known by family and friends as Kat, the teen was a student teacher who led classes and mentored students at the Prospect Heights-based Breaking Program, a breakdance group that offers dance classes and workshops.
“It’s very appreciated to support us as Katriona has been and always will be loved and remembered by many,” her mom said. “She deserves the best farwell I can do to celebrate her life and heavenly future.”
On Wednesday evening, friends of Thomas Dobosz gathered for an impromptu memorial during football practice at Chicago’s Oriole Park. It was the same location where a balloon-release memorial was held Monday for the rest of the Dobosz family and Kat Koziara.
“Tom was very good with his hands as far as being a carpenter, a mechanic, electrical work — he was like a Jack of all trades,” said cheer coach Wanda Perez of Chicago.
According to Perez, Lauren and Thomas Dobosz met and became sweethearts 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 giving,” said Perez, who befriended Lauren and Tom Dobosz in 2013. “Our friendship extended beyond the coaching.”
A family member of the Dobosz’s confirmed Wednesday there are three online fundraising pages that have been set up on GoFundMe to help pay funeral and other expenses.
The Oriole Park Falcons’ fundraiser, gofundme.com/f/dobosz-family-funeral-expenses, has collected more than $98,000 for the Dobosz family.
The Rolling Meadows Police Department’s Hope Fund, gofundme.com/f/rmpd-hope-fund, has raised more than $43,000.
A page set up by Lauren Dobosz’s parents, gofundme.com/f/tom-and-lauren-dobosz-family, has collected 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 sincere condolences to the family of Jennifer Fernandez, because I can’t imagine how they’re feeling and what they’re thinking. They suffered a loss as well.”
Funeral arrangements are pending.
• Daily Herald staff writer Scott C. Morgan contributed to this report.