DeKALB – The victims who were killed and injured in Monday’s double fatal three-vehicle crash near Genoa were on their way to work, said their colleague, owner of a DeKalb roofing company who’s helping raise more than $20,000 for the victims’ families.
DeKalb resident Ronald Hilliard, owner of Responsive Roofing, started the fundraiser to support the crew members of Alvarez Construction who were involved in the Monday morning wreck that killed Herminio Rodriguez-Garcia, 38, of DeKalb and Juan Aguado-Correa, 37, of DeKalb, according to the GoFundMe. The wreck also injured six others, including several other Alvarez Construction workers whom Hilliard knows.
The crash remains under investigation by the sheriff’s office and DeKalb County Coroner’s Office, and no charges or arrests have been announced as of Thursday.
Three crew members were hospitalized after the crash, and two remain in critical condition, the Hilliards said. An update posted to the fundraiser website Thursday evening reported that one construction worker remains in the ICU.
“I am raising money for the crew members of Alvarez Construction who were involved in a tragic accident [Monday],” Ron Hilliard wrote on the fundraiser’s webpage. “Please consider donating, as these were hardworking men on their way to work tragically struck down today. They exhibited a loyalty and work ethic that is lacking in the world today.”
Ron Hilliard was unavailable for additional comment this week, said his wife, Jennifer Hilliard, who’s also the principal at Cortland Elementary School. Jennifer Hilliard said Thursday that Rodriguez-Garcia and Aguado-Correa, along with those injured, had all also previously worked for Responsive Roofing.
“These guys, [Ron’s] worked with closely for a number of years with Alvarez Construction,” Jennifer Hilliard said. “At Responsive Roofing they are not directly his employees. However, he has utilized their services for years, and these guys were very hard working, loyal members of the team.”
Jennifer Hilliard said she hopes the fundraiser can be used for medical expenses associated with the wreck, the loss of wages that will impact the victims’ families while the men are out of work, and funeral costs for Aguado-Correa and Rodriguez-Garcia.
“We feel horrible for the guys who lost their lives, [who] we used to see on an almost daily basis,” Jennifer Hilliard said.
Jennifer Hilliard said she and Ron Hilliard hope to be able to attend a separate fundraiser being organized for the workers who died and were at the Alvarez Construction shop from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
“As members of the community, you could not find more hardworking, loyal people,” she said. “[They’re] the type of workers that you can’t just find anymore. They were incredibly hardworking men who were just going off to try and do their job.”
The crash occurred when a 2018 Chevy Silverado driven by a Genoa man was traveling south on Illinois Route 23 and “crossed over the center line,” according to the release. The Silverado collided head-on with a 2001 Ford F250 driven by a DeKalb man. There were five passengers in the Ford F250, including Rodriquez-Garcia and Aguado-Correa.
The Silverado driver was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash, according to the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office.
A third vehicle became involved in the deadly wreck when a Rockford man, driving a 2004 Dodge Ram 1500, hit the Ford F250 while trying to avoid the crash, sheriff’s deputies said. That man was treated and released on the scene of the crash.
As of 8:30 p.m. Thursday, the GoFundMe fundraiser for the Alvarez Construction crew members received 214 donations totaling $20,925, exceeding its $20,000 goal.
“I want to raise funds to help these men and their families,” Ron Hilliard wrote on the fundraiser’s webpage. “All funds will be given directly to the families of the men involved in this terrible incident.”