Three members of a Palatine family likely died instantly when the vehicle they were in crossed the median and into the path of an oncoming tractor-trailer on Thursday morning, officials said.
The dead -- Angelina Felix, Jenny Perez and Roberto M. Perez -- represented three generations of the family. Roberto, nicknamed Betito, was just two years old.
"We're remembering everything about them," said Maribel Perez, who lost her 57-year-old mother, 19-year-old sister and nephew in the crash. "My mom was very loving. She loved everyone; all her family and grandchildren."
Damage to the family vehicle was incredible, leaving it difficult to even identify what type of car it was. DeKalb County Sheriff's Department officials said the Mitsubishi Galant crossed the center line on Peace Road north of Freed Road and slammed into the truck head-on at around 11:20 a.m.
The driver of the truck, Reid Robert Anderson, 27, of Sycamore, was uninjured and refused treatment, police said.
At the Perez home on Thursday evening, family members gathered to grieve. For them, death has become too familiar.
"We've been going through a lot, you know. My grandpa just died. My aunt just died, and now this happened," said Maribel Perez.
Sheriff's officials said it wasn't immediately clear why Jenny Perez swerved into the opposite lane just seconds before the crash but that the investigation was ongoing.
DeKalb County Coroner Dennis Miller told the Chicago Tribune that Jenny Perez made a phone call to Maribel Perez about 20 minutes before the crash but couldn't say if she was on the phone when she crossed the center line. The phone was found in the backseat of the vehicle, he said.