Young brother, sister killed in Kane County bus crash remembered with fondness

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Thursday, November 3, 2022
2 killed, 2 hurt in west suburban crash involving school bus: police
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Two people were killed in a Campton Hills school bus crash on Empire Road near Burlington and Route 47, the Kane County Sheriff's Office said.

CAMPTON HILLS, Ill. (WLS) -- The two people killed in a west suburban crash involving a school bus on Monday afternoon have been identified.

Emil Diewald, 19, and Grace Diewald, 20, both of unincorporated St. Charles, were brother and sister, the Kane County Coroner's Office said.

They were pronounced deceased at the scene after a crash in Campton Hills. It took place about 3:45 p.m. on Empire Road between Burlington Road and Route 47, the Kane County Sheriff's Office said, and involved a Lexus and a school bus.

Kane County officials said a 2013 Lexus SUV was traveling east on Empire Road when it struck the back of a school bus that had 31 students and one driver on it at the time. The bus was from Central Community Unit School District 301, carrying students from Lily Lake Elementary School.

Police said there were four people inside the Lexus at the time of the crash. The driver, an 18-year-old man from Elgin, was taken to Delnor Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Grace Diewald was riding in the front passenger seat and her brother was in the back seat.

A 17-year-old girl from South Elgin in the back seat was taken to Delnor Hospital and then airlifted to Lurie Children's Hospital with life-threatening injuries, officials said.

Officials did not immediately provide additional information Tuesday about the conditions of the other two injured.

None of the students on the school bus nor the bus driver were injured. All students were reunited with their parents and released at the scene, county officials said.

Grace and Emil Diewald were graduates of Burlington Central High School, ABC7 Chicago news partner the Daily Herald reported.

Friends remembered the siblings with fondness.

"I was actually calling Grace to ask if she wanted to hang out and wondering why she wasn't answering," said Krystal Nelson, 18, of South Elgin. "Their house was always the place to go."

The siblings' mother confirmed their deaths to her, Nelson said. Emil and Grace were the family's only children.

"Grace was a really hard worker with a lot of goals in life," Nelson said. "She was always happy, no matter what."

Grace was a cheerleader and had attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison for a while before moving back home, Nelson said.

"I was closer to Grace. She didn't tell me what she wanted to do in life, but she was a really hard worker. She had a bunch of jobs," Nelson said.

As for Emil, who graduated from Burlington Central in May, Nelson said "he loved playing video games" and skateboarded.

"He was just a really chill guy always down to hang out with anyone," she said. "And he really really cared about everyone in his life. He always put others before himself."

Lauren Head, 19, who graduated from Burlington Central in 2021, said Emil and Grace were just nice people.

SEE MORE: 2 killed, 2 seriously hurt in Campton Hills crash involving school bus, police say

"She was very much a happy-go-lucky personality all the time. She was always so nice to everybody," Head said. "Sometimes, people were not the nicest to her, but no matter what, she was super nice to everybody. She was an amazing person, all around."

Head said she thought of Emil as her own younger brother.

"Emil was a great kid," Head said. "He was always awesome, caring after others. He and Grace were really sweet people -- very much to lend a shoulder to cry on. They would give anything to anybody."

The investigation is ongoing and no tickets have yet been issued.

Central Community Unit School District 301 issued a statement on Twitter.

An autopsy performed Tuesday showed the siblings' preliminary cause of death was blunt force trauma, due to the crash.

Toxicology samples were collected and sent to a forensic lab.

The Daily Herald contributed to this report.

The video in the player above is from an earlier report.