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updated: 7/24/2012 5:58 AM

Help police find Gabby's killer

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  • Courtesy of Drozdz familyGabby Drozdz was killed by a hit-and-run driver on July 22, 2011, in Lake Zurich.

    Courtesy of Drozdz familyGabby Drozdz was killed by a hit-and-run driver on July 22, 2011, in Lake Zurich.

Daily Herald Editorial Board

The tragic death of 18-year-old Gabriella Drozdz a year ago in Lake Zurich is still very raw and painful for her family and the community.

That's in large part because so much about it is unresolved: Gabby's family still grieves her loss and the hit-and-run driver who took her life is still at large.

There are limits to what can be done about the former. The community can offer its love, comfort and support, but the grieving will continue for many years. It may never really end.

But there is much that can be done to address the latter.

We add our voice to that of the Drozdz family and Lake Zurich Police Department in urging anyone who has information that could lead to an arrest to come forward.

Do it anonymously or in public, collect the reward or donate it to charity -- however you choose, but tell police what you know.

True, an arrest will not mend broken hearts; it will not make the family whole.

But it is necessary because in a just society, you can't run down three teenage girls and drive away. That's the worst kind of cowardice.

Gabby was an 18-year-old Lake Zurich High School graduate when she was killed as she and two friends were struck from behind while they walked to opening night of Alpine Fest.

Gabby's two friends were injured but survived.

Police say they are looking for a light-colored GMC Safari or a Chevy Astro van seen driving erratically south on Church Street before it struck the girls. The vehicle, thought to be in the model years 1985 to 1994, had damage to the right-side turn signal and marker light. It has a license plate mounted high on its rear hatch.

It was last seen on eastbound Route 22 near Quentin Road.

Police say they have followed many leads, but have been unable to make an arrest. Hit-and-run accidents are often difficult to solve, they concede.

Police and the family have worked hard to keep the crime and its tragic circumstances in the public eye.

They've used signs, banners, websites and rewards to raise money and exchange information.

They hope to jog someone's memory or prod a guilty conscience into giving up a terrible secret.

It's the right thing to do. A teenage girl is dead and her family is suffering.

"Yes, we want justice for Gabby, but we also know that it won't change anything if that person is caught. Gabby will still be gone," older sister Ilona Gregory told the Daily Herald's Lee Filas last week. "The person who did this has to live with this burden too. If they have a heart, they are affected by this too."

Give this family some small measure of the closure and justice they deserve.

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