Mourners honor Chicago student killed downstate

March 29, 2010 4:53:26 AM PDT
A funeral service was held Sunday for a teenager from Chicago killed in an accident earlier this week in downstate Illinois.Faith Dremmer was on a spring break bicycle trip with two friends when a car crossed the median of the road they were on and struck them.

Mourners listened to a song of sorrow Sunday as family and friends of Faith Dremmer gathered to grieve the loss of her young life.

"Help us to lead one another from the night of desolation to the dawn of a better day," said Rabbi Aaron Petuchowski of Temple Sholom.

The 1,300-seat temple was nearly full Sunday morning as those attending the service sought comfort and understanding as they struggled with their pain.

"Faith Dremmer was truly a special member of our family. A special young woman by any measure. She was bright, but unassuming, independent and fun, loyal, and above all, loving," uncle Mark Simon said.

The University of Chicago Lab School senior was killed Wednesday when an 86-year-old driver slammed his minivan into her and her two friends as they biked downstate on a rural stretch of highway near the Shawnee National Forest during a spring break trip from school.

All the teens were wearing helmets.

"Anyone who is my age, I'm a senior also, is very sad to see someone go," said friend James Williams.

While Dremmer's friends,18-year-olds Julia Baird and Kaia Tammen, were seriously injured in the accident, Faith did not survive.

It is an obvious devastation for the student's single mother, whose life, friends say, revolved around the girl.

"Michelle dedicated her whole life. They were saying in the service she didn't even save for retirement. Everything was for Faith," family friend Al Mark said.

Michelle Dremmer adopted Faith from an orphanage in China when she was 2 years old after seeing her picture.

"It was a match made in heaven," said Ann Chi-Mihn, also a family friend.

But Sunday, there was only profound sadness for those brought together by the love of Faith.

"I'm just so glad that Faith was part of my life," Faith Dremmer's friend Aymsley Upp said tearfully.

Dremmer's two friends remained hospitalized Sunday night.

According to her parents, Tammen underwent several surgeries for broken bones and facial injuries.

Baird reportedly was taken by helicopter to another hospital in Evansville, Ind. to be treated for broken bones.

The driver involved in the crash, John Hillyard, was ticketed for improper lane usage. An Illinois State Police sergeant said Friday that criminal charges would not be filed.