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Local News

Katie's Team raises funds for Downers Grove woman critically injured in boating crash

DOWNERS GROVE – Friends and family of a Downers Grove woman who was critically injured during a July 6 boating collision on the Fox River have raised more than $10,000 to help pay for her medical expenses.

More than 100 people have contributed to a YouCaring account set up for Kathryn Gazzola, 33, who was thrown from a boat that was hit by another vessel in the late-night collision.

Gazzola’s right leg was amputated above the knee as a result of the crash, according to the YouCaring page.

She also suffered several broken ribs, a horizontally cracked sternum, a small blood clot on her lung and a partially deflated lung as a result of the collision, her sister Heather Gazzola said in a Facebook post.

The YouCaring page, “Katie’s Team,” seeks to raise $15,000.

“She will now be out of school and work while recovering and relearning even basic things like walking,” wrote Emily Burrows, who started the YouCaring account.

Efforts to reach Burrows and Heather Gazzola were unsuccessful.

A single mother, Kathryn Gazzola works in a hospital emergency department, and she is studying nursing, according to the YouCaring page.

“I've known Katie for years and have always seen her put everyone else's needs before her own,” Burrows wrote on the page. “She constantly is worried about others and how she can help them. She would give the shirt off of her back for a stranger if they needed it. She is one of the strongest people I know, and I want to show her the amount of love and support she has backing her up.”

Gazzola thanked friends and family for their support on her Facebook page.

“I am overwhelmed with all this support,” she said. “Thank you and I love all of you.”

The two-boat collision occurred on the Fox River near the Pottawatomie Golf Course in St. Charles.

At 11:10 p.m. July 6, members of both the St. Charles Police Department and St. Charles Fire Department responded to the Fox River for a report of a crash between two boats, according to a news release from the St. Charles Police Department.

Jared Younglove, 27, of the 2500 block of Barnhart Street, West Chicago, was operating a Sea-Doo Sportster boat that collided with an Ebbtide boat operated by Eric Repp, 34, of St. Charles. Gazzola was a passenger on the Ebbtide, the release stated.

Younglove was cited for careless operation of a watercraft, and he is due to appear Aug. 17 in Kane County Branch Court in St. Charles, police said.

Police determined impairment was not a factor in the crash, according to the release.

Gazzola was transported to Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital for her injuries.

A man who lived across the river from the incident, Todd Surta, 61, of the 03N800 block of Route 31, St. Charles, told police he heard the crash and came over in a boat to help. However, police said Surta repeatedly interfered with emergency responders as they tried to help victims and investigate the collision.

According to the release, Surta was warned he would be arrested if he did not leave. After a brief struggle, he was arrested and charged with resisting and obstructing a peace officer. Surta posted bond and was released, but he allegedly attempted to start another fight with police as he left the station, the release stated.

Surta is due in court Aug. 17.

Shaw Media digital reporter Lindsay Gloor contributed to this report.

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