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updated: 12/5/2011 4:11 PM

Crime Stoppers increases reward in fatal Lake Zurich hit-and-run

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  • Gabriella Drozdz of Lake Zurich was killed in a hit-and-run accident in July 2011 on Church Street in Lake Zurich.

      Gabriella Drozdz of Lake Zurich was killed in a hit-and-run accident in July 2011 on Church Street in Lake Zurich.

 
 

The family of a Lake Zurich teen killed this summer in a hit-and-run crash announced they have increased the reward to identify and find the driver.

Ilona Gregory announced Monday that Crime Stoppers of Lake County will give a $10,000 reward to anyone who turns over information that leads to an arrest in the July 22 death of her sister, Gabriella Drozdz.

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Gregory said the money to increase the reward was raised from T-shirt sales and pledges from runners in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

"We sent Crime Stoppers the money already, and the reward has been increased," she said. "We hope this generates new leads and tips to the Lake Zurich Police Department and, eventually, will bring the driver of the van to justice."

She said Drozdz was laid to rest in a private burial at Lake Zurich Cemetery on Nov. 25. Gregory said the cremated remains of her sister was buried across the street from Lake Zurich High School, about a half-mile from the location where the girl was killed.

She said Thanksgiving was exceptionally hard on her family, and expects to it be an emotional holiday season.

"It was brutal on everyone," she said about Thanksgiving. "We all miss her very much."

The hit-and-run death of the 18-year-old Lake Zurich girl has inspired many to try and raise money for Crime Stoppers to increase the reward, Gregory said.

Drozdz was killed by the driver of a blue-and-white Astro minivan or GMC Safari about 9:30 p.m. as she and two friends walked to Alpine Fest along Church Street in Lake Zurich.

Drozdz died at the scene, authorities said, but her two friends survived.

Previously, enough money had been donated for a $5,000 reward for information, but so far, it has not led to an arrest.

The family said on the website they have created "Justice for Gabby" T-shirts people can wear to help raise money. Anyone looking to purchase a T-shirt -- with 100 percent of the proceeds going directly into the Gabby Drozdz Fund -- can do so at gabbydrozdz.com.

Each shirt is $25, and comes in sizes medium through extra-large.

In addition, a dance recital dedicated to Gabby will take place at Lake Zurich High School, Gregory said.

The event entitled "Dancing for a Star" is scheduled for Dec. 10 at 4 p.m., and will be performed by Trilogy Dance in Lake Zurich. The tribute will honor Drozdz's life, Gregory said.

The cost of tickets is $10, and a portion of the proceeds will go to the Gabby Drozdz fund to help fund a new gravestone at the cemetery, Gregory said.

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