‘They were great kids’: Community mourns 4 killed in Hickory Hills car crash

Chicago News

HICKORY HILLS, Ill. – The Hickory Hills community is mourning the loss of four juveniles killed in a single-vehicle crash Saturday afternoon.

Friends and family of the four teenagers gathered Sunday to release balloons in their memory. Authorities said six people were inside the vehicle when it veered off the roadway and slammed into a tree a day prior.

The impact sliced the car in two.  A preliminary investigation revealed the vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed.

“It was Jemerrio, Omarian, Destiny and Nate,” said Jocelyn Gonzales, a neighbor, who through tears, named the four kids who’ll no longer walk through the tight-knit southwest suburban community. 

Two of the fatal crash victims, Jemerrio and Omarian, were brothers.

“These kids did not deserve to go that way,” Gonzales said. “They were great kids. All four of them.”

Authorities say the occupied vehicle slammed into a tree at 89th Street at 85th Court. 

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: 4 killed, 2 injured in Hickory Hills car crash

“About 2:24 [p.m.], I heard a loud squeak of tires, then a really loud bad boom,” said Joanna Proszak. “I knew something bad happened.”

After seeing the carnage outside her home, Proszak says she quickly called 911.

“I told them there was bodies on the ground,” she said. “I saw two bodies.”

Two teenagers died at the scene. Two other teenagers were later pronounced dead. Two other people were injured, authorities added. Their condition has been stabilized.

“We lost some really good kids,” said Jasimine Eckmyre, who heard the news from her son. 

“My son called me crying and said, ‘Mom, I didn’t just lose my friends, I lost my brothers,'” Eckmyre said. “It’s very devastating because my sons are the same age and just to know that this happened. My prayers are with all the families. We’re all hurting. All of us.” 

During the balloon release, community members pledged to lean on each other, determined to keep the memories of the four teenagers killed alive. A vigil is planned for 7 p.m. Sunday.

“We love all four of you guys. Every one of you,” Gonzales said. “You guys are always going to be remembered, babies. I promise you.”

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