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Mars Middle School student killed in Georgia dirt bike accident

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By Richard Wills
Monday, Dec. 2, 2013, 1:09 p.m.

A Mars Middle School student died in a dirt bike accident in Georgia, authorities said.

Austin Jacob “A.J.” Zwigart, 15, of Middlesex, Butler County, died of a broken neck on Wednesday while riding near Atlanta, said Kristen Volek, the girlfriend of Zwigart's father, Robert.

“He was the most polite, sweetest boy. He was very close to his dad. He was the only one of the kids here I never had to remind to say ‘thank you,' ” Volek said.

Zwigart was especially close to his grandparents, James and Anna Zwigart of Valencia, Volek said.

“He rode his bike to their house every day. They are aging. He did all kinds of chores — cutting the grass, shoveling snow, changing light bulbs,” she said.

Zwigart was in Georgia for the Thanksgiving holiday.

When the accident happened, he was riding with his cousin Collin Leatham, whom the family described in a death notice as “his best partner in mayhem.”

The school district plans to have counselors at the middle school on Tuesday.

“His cousin and friends are having a hard time with this. At their age, they have never experienced anything like this,” Volek said.

Family and friends are invited to celebrate Zwigart's life from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday in the Mars VFW, 331 Mars-Valencia Road.

Richard Wills is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7944 or

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