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updated: 9/1/2011 8:58 PM

Lake Zurich family pleads for info in fatal crash

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  • The family of Gabriella Drozdz, left, has released an emotional letter calling for anyone who knows the hit-and-run driver who killed the 18-year-old six weeks ago to come forward and tell police. Gabby's sister, Ilona Gregory of Chicago, is on the right.

      The family of Gabriella Drozdz, left, has released an emotional letter calling for anyone who knows the hit-and-run driver who killed the 18-year-old six weeks ago to come forward and tell police. Gabby's sister, Ilona Gregory of Chicago, is on the right.
    Courtesy of Ilona Gregory

  • Gabriella Drozdz was killed in a hit-and-run crash on Church Street in Lake Zurich in July.

       Gabriella Drozdz was killed in a hit-and-run crash on Church Street in Lake Zurich in July.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • Video: Victim's sister pleads for help

 
 

The family of a Lake Zurich teen killed in a hit-and-run crash is making an emotional plea to anyone who may have information that can help identify the driver.

In a letter to the editor, family members of Gabriella Drozdz are asking anyone who may know the driver involved in the fatal July 22 crash to come forward and identify that person to police to "help bring justice for Gabby and hold the killer accountable."

Ilona Gregory said her family remains devastated by the crash that killed her 18-year-old sister and injured two friends as they walked on a gravel shoulder on Church Street at 9:18 p.m.

The three were walking south to Alpine Fest when they were hit from behind, officials said.

Drozdz was pronounced dead at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville following the accident. Rosie Fitts, 16, and Vanessa Fits, 18, were taken to Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington and later released.

"We're just devastated," Gregory said. "Once the initial shock wore off, and as the reality set in of what happened, it's hitting the whole family hard that she's not coming back.

"The Lake Zurich community has been amazing through this entire ordeal," she continued. "But, we want to continue to get the word out that the person driving the vehicle that killed Gabby hasn't been found. Maybe, the letter will push someone to come forward and go to police to help them find this person."

Lake Zurich Police Cmdr. Kevin Finlon said the department has received and followed up on more than 100 tips since the hit-and-run took place.

Finlon said officers continue to work with the Illinois Secretary of State's Office to try and find the Chevy Astro Van or GMC Safari that was involved in the crash.

"We are running down all the vehicles registered in Illinois that meet the criteria of the vehicle we are looking for," he said. "But, there are hundreds of Chevy Astro vans out there in the border counties. It was a very popular vehicle."

Officials said the vehicle being sought is a light-colored van with a model year from 1985 to 1994. It would have a broken right front yellow turn signal, and potentially some right-side front fender damage because of the crash, officials said.

The van also had an Illinois license plate mounted on the rear hatch, officials said.

"This remains a top priority for us and we are working it every day," Finlon said. "We have notified private businesses that do sales, repair shops, and any junk yards out there where the van could be. The word is out there, it's just that there are a lot of vehicles that meet this criteria."

Lake County Crime Stoppers has announced a $5,000 reward will be paid for information leading to the arrest of the hit-and-run driver.

Anyone with information regarding the vehicle is asked to call Lake County Crime Stoppers at (847) 662-2222. All callers will remain anonymous, police officials said.

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