Family of Crash Victim Hold Fundraiser, Speak Out on Drinking and Driving

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- The family and friends of the man killed last weekend in a car crash in Rockford continue to cope with their loss and say they're struggling to pay for his funeral.

Derrick Ellis was killed when the car he was riding in hit a tree around 2 a-m last Sunday in the 500 block of Summit. Ellis was killed on impact. On Saturday, Ellis’ family put together a day long fundraiser at Kishwaukee Tavern; the bar’s owner didn’t charge the family to use the space. Police say alcohol and drugs were factors in the crash that killed Ellis. His family says it’s a tragedy they hope no other family has to endure.

"I'm just trying to spread the word, no drinking and driving, if you can prevent it, please," says Stacey Griep, Ellis’ girlfriend and mother of his 3-year-old son.

"I just hope that everybody understands that drinking and driving, it's not a good mix. I know a lot of people believe it's not going to happen to them but my brother believed that and it happened," says Shaneka Ellis, Derrick Ellis’ older sister.

The family is hoping to raise $7,000 to pay for the funeral and possibly some more to pay for a headstone.

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