Arquilla Jones was driving home early Sunday morning after a visit with her sister when she stopped the car along the shoulder of the Eisenhower Expressway (I-290), officials and a relative said.
Minutes later, another driver, who authorities say was under the influence of alcohol, rear-ended her vehicle in a car crash that ended her life.
The mother of three was two months shy of graduating from a college program in medical assistance, said her sister Crystle Jones. “We was going to go to the graduation,” she said.
Jones, 29, stopped by her sister's home in Chicago just after 5 a.m. on Sunday after spending the evening at her brother's birthday party. Around 5:25 a.m., Jones and her boyfriend left to return her home in Carol Stream, her sister Crystle Jones said.
But after Jones parked the 2010 Nissan Altima on the shoulder of Eisenhower (I-290) just west of Kostner Avenue, a 2012 Mazda 6 rear-ended the vehicle around 5:45 a.m., according to Illinois State Police.
The accident on the eastbound Eisenhower Expressway left the 29-year-old woman dead and three other people seriously injured and shut down the roadway for investigation of the accident, officials said.
Jones, of the 200th block of East St. Charles Road in Carol Stream, was taken to John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County where she was pronounced dead at 7:07 a.m., according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office.
Jones' boyfriend and a passenger in the Mazda were taken to Stroger Hospital in serious condition. The driver of the Mazda, who was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, was also in serious condition, police said.
Crystle Jones said her sister, who the family called "Kiella," loved to laugh and joke around when she had the chance. Jones, who was studying at Everest College in Aurora, was scheduled to graduate from the certificate program on April 24th.
“She had a good heart,” said her sister Crystle Jones. “She always put others before herself."
Jones leaves behind a one-year-old daughter, an eight-year-old daughter and a nine-year-old son. She was hoping to take them on a trip to Wisconsin Dells, said Crystle Jones.
“Her hobbies were her children. That was her main focus,” said Jones, who said she plans to take care of the children herself. “Everything she did revolved around them.”
Police said speed and alcohol may have played a factor in the crash. Charges were pending, police said.