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Boy, 7, dies after being struck by school bus in Park Forest

Second grader dies after being hit by school bus in Park Forest
Second grader dies after being hit by school bus in Park Forest 02:18

PARK FOREST, Ill. (CBS) – A 7-year-old boy died after being hit by a school bus in south suburban Park Forest Friday afternoon.

The bus was taking students from Park Forest-Chicago Heights School District 163 when the accident happened at 3:13 p.m., according to police.

As CBS 2's Jermont Terry reported, the second grader had left his school and hopped his school bus – ready to enjoy his weekend.

In a letter, the school district superintendent said the boy was a second-grade student at Mohawk Primary Center.He had a quick ride home.

Yet when the school bus pulled up to his stop on Walnut Street near Westgate Drive, the unthinkable occurred.

We are told several children exited the bus – including the boy identified by the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office as Connor Kasmarski.

Somehow, when Connor got off the bus, police said the driver hit him. We are told other students witnessed the horrific incident – and Connor's family then rushed outside and started rendering aid until paramedics arrived.

Connor was taken to Franciscan Health Olympia Fields Hospital where he died.

There were many questions Friday night as to how the driver failed to see the boy – as neighbors who adored this child thought of his family.

"When I came home today, the streets were blocked off – and I just had a feeling something bad had happened, because I see the bus stop, and there was police everywhere – and I got the letter just a few minutes ago," said neighbor Jackie Lemarier, "and it's very sad. There's so many kids that I see all the time – and to know that that kid is from my son's school – it really, really hurt me a lot."

District 163 and Park Forest police are arranging for counselors to be available both over the weekend and at the start of school next Monday to provide services to students and staff.

"He was a joy to all of his teachers, kind-hearted, smart and funny; always with a smile on his face," Superintendent Caletha White wrote of Connor in the letter to school district families. "He will be missed greatly by the Mohawk and District 163 students and educators."

The bus driver works for Kickert Bus Company. Park Forest police are interviewing the driver and witnesses to determine whether charges should be filed.

We did stop by the boy's house. Understandably, they were too shaken to talk on camera – as they deal with this unfortunate death.

Anyone with information on the accident is asked to call (708) 748-1309.

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