(CBS) –– A deadly car crash on a family vacation claims three members of a Vernon Hills family. Now, the community is mourning the victims and looking to help the lone survivor, a nine-year-old girl.
CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports 16-year-old Yuki Hirayama only enrolled at Libertyville’s Stevenson High School last August, but news of his death struck a blow.
“Anytime you lose a student it’ a very difficult situation and what makes this situation even more tragic of course is the circumstances of the accident in Arizona,” said Stevenson High School spokesman Jim Conrey.
Last week, Yuki, his parents, and younger sister were on a Spring Break trip to the Grand Canyon, but outside Flagstaff, Arizona, a pickup chased by police at 100 miles an hour crossed the centerline and slammed into the Hirayama’s van. Yuki, his mother and father were all killed.
50-year-old Tomohiro Hirayama was a vice-president at Yaskawa Electric in Waukegan where he’s remembered for embracing life in the United States. The Hirayamas lived in a bright yellow home in Vernon Hills’ Stone Fence Farm subdivision.
It seems few neighbors really knew the Hirayamas, perhaps because they’d been here a short time, because their kids didn’t speak English well and because people kept inside during the brutal winter, but the focus now is on helping 9-year-old Rinka Hirayama, a student at half day school in Lincolnshire and the lone survivor of the crash.
“There’s definitely efforts out there to try to have fundraising for the remaining child we’re going to work the best we can to help facilitate those efforts,” said Conrey.
The Hirayama family doesn’t have any family in the United States. Rinka Hirayama’s grandparents have flown from Japan to the hospital where she’s recovering in Phoenix. Yashkawa Electric is waiting for instructions from them before proceeding with fundraising for Rinka.