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A fundraiser for her family.

Byline: Elena Ferrarin

A restaurant in St. Charles will sponsor a fundraiser for the family of a 24-year-old employee remembered as a sunny and cheerful woman who loved life.

Amy Carlson of St. Charles especially loved the Caribbean, where she had worked the past two years, her father said. She had been home for a few months between job rotations for a cruise company and was working as a server at Spotted Fox Ale House in St. Charles, about five minutes from home, Dave Carlson said.

"Whatever she had to do to help people, she would do it. She didn't see the bad in people," he said. "She loved life."

Carlson's co-worker, Erik McKay, 27, of South Elgin was charged with reckless homicide and driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs in the May 31 crash that took Amy's life.

McKay was traveling between 106 mph and 117 mph in a 45 mph zone when he lost control of the vehicle, South Elgin police said. He was treated at the scene for minor injuries.

Carlson graduated in 2012 from St. Charles East High School and worked as a lifeguard at park districts in St. Charles, Carol Stream and Elgin before getting a job in aquatics with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, her father said.

"She loved the job," Dave Carlson said. "She liked the warm weather and the beaches. She always wore flip-flops, even in wintertime. She just loved that Caribbean lifestyle."

Spotted Fox Ale House owner Marwan Taib said Carlson's death hit hard.

"It's so tragic," he said. "You had to meet Amy. She was a beautiful young girl. She was full of life. ... Everyone is devastated."

Amy Carlson worked at the restaurant the night before the crash, Taib said. She was in her usual good spirits and inquired about when the restaurant's second location would open in West Dundee, he said. It's unclear if McKay, hired about three months ago, picked up Carlson from work, Taib said.

The goal of the fundraiser is to raise money for the family to cover the cost of the June 4 funeral, Taib said. Carlson also is survived by her mother, Angela, and younger sister, Briana.

"It's a grieving moment, but it's also a celebration moment," Taib said. "Amy was one of us and we lost a beautiful soul, and the purpose of this is to give the family a celebration of her life at the place where she worked."

Dave Carlson said it would be great if guests wore blue and tropical colors, which were his daughter's favorites.

"It's not supposed to be mourning of her," he said. "It's to celebrate and for everybody to talk about the different experiences they had with her."

The fundraiser is from 4 to 10 p.m. Thursday at the Spotted Fox Ale House, 3615 E. Main St. in St. Charles.

Tickets are $20 and include an appetizer buffet. There will be a cash bar with 50% of proceeds going to the family.

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Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:Jun 25, 2019
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