Vicky Palacios wasn't even supposed to work at her job cleaning a factory on Monday but enjoyed the job so much she went in anyway, her daughter said Tuesday.
The 54-year-old Coal City woman and three others were killed in a chain-reaction crash on Interstate 55 near Arsenal Road in Elwood at about 2:30 p.m.
Palacios' husband died years ago and she raised four children and three step-children by herself, according to one of the daughters.
"She was the best person I've ever known, you know, I love her so much and I'm never going to see her again," Nicole Palacios said. "Everyone loved her. She was a very giving woman, very strong willed, outspoken. That's what people liked about her."
Nicole Palacios said her youngest sibling is serving in the United States Marine Corps and was headed to the Chicago area to help with arrangements.
Palacios lived alone with her cat.
Nicole Palacios said her mother will be cremated but exact details weren't complete because the body was still with the coroner.
Illinois State Police said a speeding tractor-trailer entering stalled traffic in a construction zone caused the chain-reaction crash that killed Palacios as well as Ulrike P. Blopleh, 48, of Channahon, and 43-year-old Kimberly K. Britton and her 11-year-old daughter, Piper Britton, both from Urbana.
The truck driver, 51-year-old Francisco Espinal-Quiroz, of Leesburg, Indiana, was arrested early Tuesday and charged with falsifying a log book and willful violation of a log book. He was also cited for failing to reduce speed and held on $1 million bond.
A fifth person, Deividas Mockus, 41, of Darien, was killed in a second crash moments after the first and about three miles to the north. That stretch of I-55 has been the scene of several accidents over the past couple of years.