The family of Gabriella “Gabby” Drozdz is collecting money with plans to offer a cash reward for information leading to the arrest of the driver involved in the hit-and-run that killed the teenager on July 22.
Kristin and Scott Grzelak, Drozdz’s sister-in-law and brother, are asking the community to help — and imploring anyone with information to contact Lake Zurich police.
“We’re just hoping to raise as much money as we can,” said Kristin. “We’re just trying to get the community to help. We’re all extremely hopeful that (the driver) will be found.”
The accident occurred just before 9:15 p.m. as Drozdz and her friends, Rosie and Vanessa Fitts, also of Lake Zurich, were walking to Alpine Fest. The teens were walking along Church Street near Jamie Lane when they were struck. Drozdz died of her injuries shortly after being transported to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville.
Rosie, 16, and Vanessa, 18, were taken to Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington with injuries not considered life threatening and later were released.
Cmdr. Kevin Finlon said a witness observed a light-colored sport utility vehicle leaving the area of the hit-and-run. The vehicle, he said, was described as having an Illinois license plate mounted on the rear hatch. The vehicle last was seen eastbound on Route 22 near Quentin Road. Finlon said the vehicle was seen driving erratically with no lights on.
The vehicle may have sustained damage on the front passenger side. Anyone with information should contact Finlon at 847-719-1690, ext. 6118.
“Somebody has to know something,” said Scott.
“I think I speak for the family in saying we want to find justice for her,” said Kristin. “She didn’t deserve this. I’m not sure what kind of person can hold this in without feeling remorse or having a heavy heart.”
Scott said he understands that accidents happen.
“It’s a lot different pain when this was complete neglect on this person’s behalf,” he said. He asked that the individual turn him or herself in “and show that you care about what you did. The family would like at least to know that the person who did this is remorseful.”
He added, however, that it makes him angry that it is such a dark section of road and “it’s not set up for foot traffic.”
“People fly down there — nobody drives 30 miles per hour,” said Scott. “It was just inevitable, I think.”
Scott described Gabby as an “extremely compassionate, loving person.”
“She was just a young adult who was finally coming into her own. She was going to be limitless,” said Scott. “She was a wonderful kid. A loving, endearing kid — somebody, in my eyes, who could do no wrong.”
Kristin said those are the types of qualities that have been said again and again about Gabby.
“She had grown into this beautiful young woman,” said Kristin. She described her sister-in-law as compassionate, empathetic, intelligent and fun to be around. “She had a great sense of humor.”
Gabby planned to attend the College of Lake County this fall and had talked about possibly studying nursing.
The Remembering Gabby Drozdz Fund has been established at Chase Bank. Here are the ways you can donate:
- The Lake Zurich Chase Bank at Route 12 and Cuba Road, along with other Chase Bank locations in the area, will accept donations.
- Donations also can be mailed to: Chase Bank: Remembering Gabby Drozdz Fund, Attn: Andrea Kennedy, 1289 S. Rand Road, Lake Zurich, IL 60047
- A Paypal donation link is available on the Remembering Gabby Drozdz site.
Services for Drozdz are set for Friday and Saturday. The wake will be held at , 415 S. Buesching Road, from 3 to 9 p.m. July 29. The funeral service will begin at 1 p.m. July 30 at Ahlgrim’s and then proceed to a 2 p.m. Mass at St. Francis De Sales Catholic Parish, 135 S. Bueshing Road.