PARK FOREST, Ill. — A 7-year-old boy was killed after a school bus struck him in Park Forest, police announced Friday.
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the boy as Connor Kaczmarski. The Park Forest – Chicago Heights School District 163 said Connor was a second-grade student at Mohawk Primary Center.
The incident occurred just before 3:15 p.m. in the 100 block of Walnut Street. No details were released on what led to the crash but police said the child was seriously injured and rushed to Franciscan Health Olympia Fields Hospital, where he later died.
Neighbors told WGN-TV News Kaczmarski and another child were running alongside the bus right before he was hit.
The bus involved was transporting students from Park Forest-Chicago Heights School District 163 at the time of the incident, police said.
School District 163 and the Park Forest Police Department will arrange for counselors over the weekend and at the start of a school week for students and staff.
“Our entire school district is saddened by this tragic event,” said superintendent Caletha White.
At this time, it is unknown if the bus driver will face any charges. An investigation is ongoing.
On Saturday afternoon, the Park Forest Police Department issued a statement calling for patience as they continue to investigate.
The Park Forest Police Department is dedicated to ensuring that a full, impartial, and complete investigation into this matter is conducted, including the review of all available witness statements, surveillance video, forensic evidence, and the completion of investigation by the Suburban Major Accident Reconstruction Team. Unfortunately this review and associated evidentiary results cannot be completed as quickly as would be desired by anyone involved. Any decision regarding criminal charges will be made in conjunction with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office when all evidence has been obtained and reviewed. Given the indescribable pain that the child’s family is enduring, no further details regarding this incident will be released until they have had time to process this tragedy and are able to review available information.
Park Forest Police continue to investigate and are in contact with Administration from School District 163 and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. In addition, the relationships among the Park Forest Police Department, School District 163, and the University of Illinois at Chicago Urban Youth Trauma Center are allowing for services to be provided for SD163 families and those who have been affected by this tragedy.
Once again, the thoughts and prayers of the Park Forest Police Department, the Park Forest Fire Department, and the entire Village of Park Forest go out to every person affected.Press release from Park Forest Police Department
Anyone who may have information is urged to call the Park Forest Police Investigations Division at (708) 748-1309