Couple Killed in Crash on Way to July 4th Barbecue

The cause of the crash remains under investigation

Family members are mourning a couple killed in a car crash while traveling to a Fourth of July barbecue with their 13-year-old son.

The couple was among four people killed Friday in a head-on collision in southwest suburban Bridgeview, in a crash that witnesses say stemmed from a street racing incident.

Police, citing preliminary information, said a 2010 Camaro, driven by 21-year-old Aiman Salen, was traveling northbound on Harlem Avenue when the vehicle collided head-on with a Dakota pickup truck traveling southbound.

The driver of the pickup, Hector Gonzalez, 48, of Chicago, and his wife Maria Gonzalez, 52, of Chicago were pronounced dead at the scene.

Salem, of Worth, and a passenger in the Camaro, identified as Alaa Mustafa Alkhatib, 24, of Palos Hills, were also killed in the crash.

A juvenile passenger in the pickup, which family members said was the Gonzalez's 13-year-old son, was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries, according to police.

"I'm going to miss [my dad] a lot," said the couple's son Martin Gonzalez, who was not involved in the crash. "And there are people who know him that are going to miss him a lot too."

Witnesses said it appeared the Camaro was racing another car on the street before the crash.

"It didn't have to happen," said witness Lorie Heklowski. "It's sad that the white pickup and their family are suffering because somebody chose to, you know, race drag down the street."

Heklowski said witnesses found the teen alive in the pickup truck after the crash and cut him out of his seatbelt.

"I was by [the witnesses], talking to [the boy], trying to tell him to stay calm, stay down because he kept trying to get up," she said.

Police could not confirm details on what caused the crash and would not say whether street racing was involved, but said the incident remains under investigation.

"Four people lost their lives because of stupidity," said witness Debbie Heradia. "It is a shame."

Four red hearts with each of the victims' names sit at the scene of the crash.

"No child deserves to lose both parents," said neighbor Sonja Clincy. "It's sad."

A fundraising page has been set up to the family pay for the couple's memorial.

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