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Fatal 4th

  • Written by Bob Rakow

Four die — including two from area — in Bridgeview crash on 4th of July

  Bridgeview police continue to investigate the causePAGE-1-2-col-color-double-run-memoriaA candle, flowers and some of the debris from a fatal accident make up a memorial for victims in a Fourth of July crash that claimed four lives. Photo by Jeff Vorva. of a fatal Fourth of July collision that claimed the lives of four individuals, including a Worth and a Palos Hills resident.
  Police, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office and an accident reconstruction unit are still looking into what led to the crash, which occurred at 5:25 p.m. Friday in the 8200 block of South Harlem Avenue.
  Police refused further comment on Tuesday afternoon, saying they would provide more information to the media when it becomes available.
  Flowers, candles and red, wooden hearts with the names of the victims painted on them were placed at the scene on Saturday.
  A group of area residents brought flowers to the crash scene Saturday afternoon and the tribute remained there throughout the week.
  The collision claimed the lives Aiman Salem, 21, of Worth, Alaa Mustafa Alkhatib, 24, of Palos Hills, Maria Gonzalez, 52, and Hector Gonzalez, 48, both of Chicago, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.
  A 13-year-old boy, the son of Maria and Hector Gonzalez, suffered broken bones and required stitches in his forehead, according to reports.
  The crash happened when a 2010 Camaro traveling north on Harlem Avenue, driven by Salem with Alkatib as a passenger, collided head on with a Dodge pickup truck, driven by Hector Gonzalez, which was traveling in the southbound lanes, police said.
  All four victims were pronounced dead on the scene, police said.
  Hector and Maria Gonzalez were on their way to a family Fourth of July barbecue when the Camaro crashed into their truck, according to reports.
  Witnesses said it appeared the Camaro was racing another car on the street before the crash, though police have not confirmed that possibility.
  “It didn’t have to happen,” witness Lorie Heklowski told NBC Chicago. “It’s sad that the white pickup and their family are suffering because somebody chose to, you know, race drag down the street.”
  Heklowski told NBC that 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.
  Several Gonzalez family members brought candles and flowers to the crash scene. Four wooden hearts painted red and printed with the names of the deceased were set up next to a nearby road sign by Saturday morning.
  A group of area residents brought flowers to the crash scene Saturday afternoon.
  The wakes for Salem and Alkhatib took place Saturday night at Hann Funeral Home in Bridgeview. Funeral services were held Sunday at the Bridgeview mosque with interment at Parkholm Cemetery in La Grange Park.