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Coroner identifies two children who died in weekend Peoria car crash

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PEORIA (HOI) -- The two children who died in a weekend car crash in Peoria have been identified by the Peoria County Coroner.

Coroner Jamie Harwood says 14-year-old Bolodjawn Diego Bonkengo, a front-seat passenger, was pronounced dead at the scene of the incident at Charter Oak Road and Charter Oak Lane on Sunday afternoon. An autopsy shows Bonkengo suffered multiple blunt force chest and abdominal injuries and died instantly.

"It is a tragedy," Harwood said. "I just, I'm thinking about everyone today, with the trauma and grief that they are going through."

The 1-year-old victim, Owens Bomolo, a rear seat passenger, was transported to OSF St. Francis Medical Center, but Harwood said he died instantly after an autopsy showed he suffered blunt force head trauma.

Authorities said seven others were injured in the crash that happened at around 2 p.m. Sunday.

Peoria County Sheriff Brian Asbell said Sunday a Toyota sedan containing eight passengers was traveling Eastbound on Charter Oak Road when it crossed over the center line and struck another vehicle containing one passenger, according to witnesses.

"It's not my job. It's certainly not anyone else's job to pass judgement on why. Why did she not do this?" Harwood said. "We level her with compassion and we take a lesson from this is to no matter where we are going with our children, we safely restrain them in car seats. "

Seven of the passengers of the Toyota were transported to local hospitals.

Police identified the driver of the Toyota as 31-year old Laetitia Bolodjwa, and confirm she is the mother of all seven passengers.

Bolodjwa was issued numerous tickets including Driving in Wrong Lane and Failure to Secure Child in Approved Child Restraint System.

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Alex Gaul

Alex Gaul joined WEEK 25 News and Heart of Illinois ABC in January 2021 as a Multimedia Journalist. He formerly worked for KPNX-TV and KAET-TV, both in Phoenix, Arizona. The Illinois-native is an alum of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.

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