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Boy's death sparks call for traffic safety reform in Jefferson Hills

| Tuesday, May 14, 2013, 4:41 a.m.

A nurse who came to the aid of a mortally-injured 8-year-old neighbor is hoping his death will prompt changes in traffic safety in Jefferson Hills.

“We need the borough council to support us and to make our neighborhoods safer,” Deanne Fulmer said at Monday's council meeting.

Fulmer attempted to aid Connor Zink when he was struck by a car as he rode a skateboard near his home on May 3.

“I made my best attempt to assess Connor, initiate CPR and save his life,” Fulmer said. “I was unsuccessful.”

Some changes are happening, police Chief Gene Roach and Mayor Michael Green said.

“Our police department is going to do what it can to stop speeding,” the mayor announced. “You will get a ticket, not a warning.”

The boy's death remains under investigation by Allegheny County homicide detectives. Roach said there has been no word about the outcome.

“Connor Zink had just moved to our neighborhood a few months ago,” Fulmer recalled. “He was friendly, kind, well-mannered — qualities you don't find in every child these days.”

Fulmer said Connor wanted to be a firefighter when he grew up. She said she is forming “Connor's Crusaders for Child Neighborhood Safety,” and called the youngster “our hero” and “the guardian for our children now.”

The driver reportedly told investigators that he did not see the boy until it was too late.

“There are a lot of factors that went into this ‘accident,'” Fulmer said, putting “accident” in quotation marks in her prepared statement.

Fulmer said motorists are driving too fast in residential neighborhoods. She urged a reduction in the speed limit from 25 to 15 mph.

She said the street light does not work on Gilmore Drive near the scene of Connor's death.

She noted that there is one stop sign at the intersection of Oneida and Gilmore drives.

“There should be additional stop signs for the traffic patterns,” Fulmer said.

Green and council president Christopher King said they took last Friday's tragedy hard.

“I ask that everybody keep the family of this child in their thoughts and prayers,” King said.

Fulmer called out from the audience toward the end of Monday's meeting, seeking assurances that her comments would not go unheeded.

“It will be discussed,” King assured her. “Your concerns will be addressed.”

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or pcloonan@tribweb.com.

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