At about 3 a.m. Sunday, a Chevy Cavalier was headed southbound near 130th when authorities say a man in his 60s driving a Toyota Highlander rear-ended the car after it became stopped in the center lane with no lights on.
The Cavalier was carrying all three of the accident's victims: Latoya Williams, 35, Jermaine Garner, 27, and Williams's son Derrick Young, 18.
"My cousin says she mentioned the car needed gas, so we don't know if it ran out of gas before the expressway. We really don't know," said Sheen Ray, the victim's relative.
Relatives say Young was driving as he and his mother took Garner back to his Calumet City home after the trio attended a block party.
"He was a quiet guy, easy going guy. If you needed his help, he'll help you," said Garner's neighbor Clarence Freeman.
Relatives say Williams, a mother of five, was a hard worker who always put her family first, taking in her niece's five children to keep them out of foster care.
"My sister was doing the best she could," said Michelle Williams, the victim's sister.
"She was a real good mother and she is going to be missed," said Debbie Williams, the victim's other sister.
Friends say her son Derrick was set to graduate from high school, but he opted not to go to college because he'd rather get a job to help his mom.
"He was a youth counselor at CYC. He was a senior at Fenger. He had a giving and compassionate spirit. He's a great loss to us all," said Mark Aolman, Derrick Young's mentor.
No one in the SUV was seriously injured and the SUV's driver was not cited.
State police are still investigating but say weather and road conditions were not a factor in the crash and that there is no indication that drugs alcohol or speeding were to blame.