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Police ID boy killed in Jefferson Hills collision

| Saturday, May 4, 2013, 10:09 a.m.
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Connor Zink, 8, died after being hit by a vehicle Friday night in Jefferson Hills.

Jaime Grimenstein said she hopes drivers will slow down and watch for children when they see a photo of her beautiful blue-eyed, dimpled, red-headed son.

Police said the boy, Connor Zink, 8, of Elizabeth, died Friday evening when a vehicle struck him in the 1400 block of Gilmore Drive in Jefferson Hills, where he was riding his skateboard. They said the driver of the vehicle, who has not been identified, told them he did not see the boy until the last minute and was unable to avoid hitting him.

“Please slow down. If you're running late, remember life is worth so much more. Life is so precious,” Grimenstein said Saturday afternoon, weeping, as she slowly leafed through the scrapbook that documented her only child's life from birth.

“We were building a treehouse. He was so smart. He got straight A's. He had beautiful blue eyes and he loved school. He loved trains and building with Legos and riding his bike,” she said.

Grimenstein, 26, said her son was visiting his father, Jeremy Zink, in Jefferson Hills and was outside playing with a friend when the accident happened. She said she was told a grandfather was watching them and the boys had come inside shortly before 9 p.m. begging to stay out and play another five minutes.

Police said they responded to a call of a child struck by a motor vehicle at 9:12 p.m. Friday and found Connor unresponsive with multiple injuries. He was taken to Jefferson Regional Medical Center where he died shortly afterward. The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office said Connor, a second-grader in the Clairton City School District who turned 8 in January, died of multiple blunt force trauma.

No charges had been filed as of 5 p.m. Saturday, but Allegheny County homicide detectives said they were investigating. Authorities did not release any other information.

Alexis Trubiani, a spokeswoman for the Clairton City School District, said grief counselors will be at the elementary school on Monday for students and staff, and the second-grade class of nearly 70 students will discuss how to honor Connor's memory.

“He was a lively little boy,” Trubiani said. “He was curious, he was adventurous.”

“It's very difficult, because it's such a small district,” Superintendent Wayde Killmeyer said of the district of nearly 800 students in grades kindergarten through 12. “We all know each other and it's really like a family.”

Grimenstein said she agreed to authorize the hospital to retrieve any organs from her son that could be donated.

“If he can save another child, I thought we should,” she said.

Staff writer Bill Vidonic contributed to this report. Debra Erdley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7996 or derdley@tribweb.com.

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