As the hearse containing the casket of 18-year-old Gabriella Drozdz pulled away from St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church Saturday afternoon, Drozdz's older sister Ilona Gregory softly blew a kiss toward it.
About 250 family members and friends gathered to remember Drozdz, who had just graduated from Lake Zurich High School, after she was killed in a hit-and-run accident July 22 in Lake Zurich. Mourners lined both sides of the entrance to the Lake Zurich church and held each other, some silently crying, as the gray-and-silver casket was taken inside by pallbearers.
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In a funeral Mass open only to family members and friends, Gregory, of Chicago, remembered her sister, who was known as "Gabby," as "an amazing woman" filled with energy and compassion.
Drozdz was killed when she and two friends, Rosie Fitts, 16, and Vanessa Fitts, 18, were hit from behind by a vehicle as they walked on the shoulder of Church Street just north of Jamie Lane in Lake Zurich. The Fitts sisters survived the crash.
Lake Zurich police officers are looking for a two-tone GMC Safari or a Chevy Astro van in connection with the crash.
Authorities say the van, made between 1985 and 1994, is blue with a second lighter color, possibly silver or gray, has damage to the side turn signal and marker light. The vehicle reportedly had an Illinois license plate mounted on the rear hatch.
Anyone with information is asked to contact either Lake Zurich Police Cmdr. Kevin Finlon at (847) 719-1690, ext. 6118, or Lake County Crime Stoppers at (847) 662-2222.
Family members have set up a website, gabbydrozdz.com, seeking help identifying the hit-and-run driver and the family is seeking donations for a reward fund.