Group offers help after Naperville quarry deaths

A Naperville-based youth services organization is offering “healing sessions” after two young men were killed over the weekend in what authorities say was a drunken driving crash.

The group, 360 Youth Services, is offering the free counseling sessions to anyone affected by the deaths of Mihirtej Boddupalli, 21, of Lisle, and Sajaad Safiullah Syed, 21, of Naperville. Both died early Saturday when the car they were riding in left the road at Aurora Avenue and Eagle Street and ended up in a Naperville Park District quarry usually used for paddleboating.

“We truly believe our place in the community is to respond to the needs of the community,” Clinical Director Margot Smith said. “It's times like this that we want to step up and make ourselves available.”

The youth services organization is freeing up licensed therapists to assist Naperville-area residents who need help processing their grief or anxiety — even if they didn't know or weren't close with Boddupalli or Syed.

“It doesn't have to be someone who's close to the young men; it could be anybody that this hits them in a way that they want to reach out and get help,” Smith said.

Sometimes people dealing with grief or shock just need someone to talk to and reassurance that their reactions are normal and OK. Smith said healing sessions can provide that sounding board as well as referrals to other resources for help with additional stressors.

“Tragedies like this sometimes build upon previous things that happened to us,” Smith said. “You never know how things can affect you.”

The crash that killed Boddupalli and Syed occurred about 1:45 a.m. Saturday, authorities said. Driver Michael T. Szot, 21, of Geneva has been charged with aggravated DUI involving death and reckless homicide and is free on $25,000 bond awaiting his next court date Aug. 11.

To schedule a free healing session Monday through Friday in the morning, afternoon or evening, call the 360 Youth Services counseling department at (630) 717-9408, ext. 1180. Healing sessions will be one-on-one appointments unless 360 Youth Services receives enough interest to form a group.

Smith said this is the second time the organization has offered healing sessions. In the first instance, a few people came in for help dealing with the stabbing deaths of two Naperville children in October 2012.

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