Neighbors, friends try to help families of men killed in crash

Updated 12/5/2016 4:57 PM
  • Families are dealing with the aftermath of a crash last week on I-88 in Naperville that killed three men.

    Families are dealing with the aftermath of a crash last week on I-88 in Naperville that killed three men. Courtesy of ABC 7 Chicago

Friends and neighbors are seeking donations online to help the families of two men killed last week in a head-on crash in Naperville.

Separate GoFundMe pages have been created for Ali Erhaima and Shiva Inampudi, who died early Friday morning when a man driving the wrong way on I-88 smashed into their vehicle.

Erhaima, a 32-year-old Uber driver, was taking Inampudi home from the airport at the time of the crash near Mill Street. Inampudi, 40, was about 20 minutes from his Naperville home, friends say.

Erhaima, who was from Iraq but most recently lived in Aurora, was pronounced dead at the scene along with Inampudi.

The driver of the other vehicle, Domenic Andreoni of Elgin, also died at the scene. Andreoni, 30, was a Marine serving as a recruiter in Oak Lawn and surrounding areas.

One of Erhaima's neighbors, Adam Thomas, started a GoFundMe page called "Support for Ali Abdul Hadi's Family." The page explains that "Abdul Hadi" is Erhaima's middle name.

As of Monday afternoon, the campaign had raised $67,538 toward its $300,000 goal. The money collected will be given to Erhaima's wife, Rasha.

"Ali was not just a neighbor and friend, he was a true American hero," the GoFundMe page says. "Nearly a decade ago, he was working security in Iraq for American soldiers. After repeated threats on his life to stop working for the Americans, the threats were finally made good."

On Monday, a cousin of Erhaima's thanked donors for their help in an online post.

"Ali was someone who lit up every room that he entered, and showed kindness toward every person he met. On behalf of Ali's family, we want to thank you for mirroring Ali's selflessness and compassion," the cousin wrote.

A family friend said Erhaima was a guard at a Baghdad hotel in 2005 when he was kidnapped and held for ransom by insurgent fighters. Despite his family paying a ransom, Erhaima was put before a firing squad and shot eight times and left for dead. But he survived and was found the next morning.

Erhaima escaped to Syria where he later applied for refugee status. He came to the United States in 2012 and drove a taxi after undergoing several surgeries.

According to the GoFundMe page, Erhaima was the sole provider for his family.

"Ali leaves behind a wife and two elementary age children," the GoFundMe page says. "We want to do anything we can to help his wife and children through this tragedy."

According to an update on the site, Erhaima was buried over the weekend.

The GoFundMe page started to support Inampudi's family had raised $167,020 of its $300,000 goal as of Monday afternoon. The money collected will be given to his wife, Prathima Inampudi.

Shiva Inampudi, who was a software engineer, also is survived by a 12-year-old son, Pranav, as well as his parents, the site says. Funeral services were held Sunday in Bolingbrook.

Meanwhile, funeral arrangements have been set for Andreoni.

The Marine joined the military in 2009 and served as an assault amphibious vehicle crew member. He was deployed in Afghanistan from October 2012 to April 2013 and received several awards, including the National Defense Service Medal.

Visitation will be from 2 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Kurtz Memorial Chapel, 65 Old Frankfort Way, in Frankfort. A funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Kurtz Memorial Chapel. Burial will be at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood.

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