Jackson Hill, 7, was struck by a vehicle near 16th Place and Chicago Road about 7:45 a.m., according to Chicago Heights police. Washington-McKinley School is located at 25 W. 16th Pl.
The boy was rushed to St. James Hospital in Chicago Heights, where he later died from his injuries, police said. No arrests have been made and the Suburban Major Accident Reconstruction Team is investigating.
Jackson began his school day in the same way. His mother walked him to McKinley Elementary.
On Wednesday, a broken water main on the corner of Chicago Road and 16th Place meant students had to jump over water in the street to get to the sidewalk. Jackson's family says that's what he was doing when he was struck and killed by a car in front of the school.
"The doctor assured us that he was pretty much gone when he got to the hospital. He lost a lot of blood," said grandmother Deborah Gwin Hill.
The second grader was hit about 10 minutes before the start of school, with other students and faculty witnessing the incident.
"He was the most cuddly, liveliest little boy you ever want to meet. He liked to cuddle and snuggle," said Gwin Hill.
"Our hearts and prayers go out to the family. It should have never happened," said Supt. Tom Amadio, Chicago Heights Dist. 170.
Jackson was Kenneth Hill's only son and shared his dad's love of watching wrestling on TV. While the elder Hill says Jackson liked to rough-house, he says his son was also affectionate and gave hugs freely.
"It's hard to talk about him in the past tense," said Kenneth Hill.
Grief counselors have been available for anyone who needs them.
"Jackson never had a problem making friends, so I imagine he's got a school full of friends, and the teachers just loved him," Kenneth Hill said.
The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.