Barely a week after Katriona Koziara, 13, died in a deadly crash, her mother reflected on all the good things about her, remembering her as “wonderful, intelligent, caring, talented and loving.”
“She was my love, my best friend, my life and bright future,” Katarzyna Koziara told the Northwest Herald about her daughter.
Katarzyna’s and her husband Marcin’s only child, Katriona’s life was cut short last month when a vehicle driving the wrong way on Interstate 90 collided head-on with a Rolling Meadows family’s van south of Marengo. Eight people, including Katriona, also of Rolling Meadows, were killed in the crash.
Thomas and Lauren Dobosz of Rolling Meadows and their four children were killed in the crash. Thomas initially survived but died days later from his injuries, authorities said.
Since the crash, Katriona’s peers have reached out to Katarzyna to say how much they will miss her, her mother said. In messages Katarzyna shared with the Northwest Herald, her daughter’s friends described her as “an amazing friend,” “a sweet soul,” “the coolest kid we ever knew” and “the best break dancer I ever saw.”
The owner of a dance studio where she attended classes for the past four years described Katriona as “positive, respectful, helpful and excited.”
“We deeply cared for Kat,” Brittany Cederberg, owner of Dance & All That Jazz studio, said in a post on Facebook. “We was a part of our dance family and we will miss seeing her smiling face when she walked into the studio for classes. She will always be remembered.”
Cederberg said that Katriona was in the studio on Thursday, July 28, just three days before the fatal crash, and added that she was a student instructor for the younger dancers and “loved every minute of it.”
One of her dancing instructors, Ryley Mikos, said her passion, love and leadership were an inspiration both to the other program dancers and also the instructors.
“There are no words to express the pain we all feel right now with this tragic news,” Mikos said in a Facebook post. ”We loved Kat, and from the moment we met her years ago she has been one of our greatest assets to our program.”
A GiveSendGo fundraiser for her family to help pay for funeral and living expenses for the family had raised over $13,000 as of Monday evening.
“Katriona was a fun-loving, athletic young girl that enjoyed spending time with family and friends, and had an undeniable passion and talent for breakdancing,” family friend Brian Kent said on the fundraiser page. “She was in the prime of her youth and always seen with a smiling face and positive attitude.”
According to friends, the Dobosz family – parents Lauren and Thomas Dobosz, and their four children – was traveling for a planned vacation, along with Katriona, who was a friend of the family’s eldest daughter, when they were hit by a vehicle going to the wrong way Sunday, July 31. The driver of the other vehicle, Jennifer Fernandez, 22, of Carpentersville, also was killed.
Hundreds gathered last week for a vigil and balloon release for those that perished, which took place on Monday, Aug. 1, at Oriole Park in Chicago.