A New Jersey 8-year-old, whose jump roping skills were recently featured on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, was struck and killed by a car while on his way to a team fundraiser event.
Jeremiah Grant of Jersey City, known to loved ones as “The Prince of Double Dutch,” was crossing the street with his team of 60 jump-ropers when he was struck by a Jeep.
The 60-year-old driver from Union City initially drove off but turned around when witnesses flagged him down, cops said. He stayed at the scene until authorities arrived and has not been charged.
The boy was reportedly pronounced dead at Jersey City Medical Center.
“He was a loved kid,” his aunt, Takeria Clark, told InsideEdition.com. “We’re making it through.”
Clark explained the team, named the Honey Bees, were about to do freestyle Double Dutch routine by a train station to raise money for their first competition of the season on Saturday.
The kids, aged 3 to 17, were making their way across the street as the light changed, Clark said.
“They were so excited about getting across the street,” she said. “I turned around for the team to hurry up because I knew we didn’t have the light and he heard, ‘Go,’ and he ran. He’s so fast. Everything just pretty much went silent.”
Jeremiah, who started jumping rope when he was only 4 years old, was featured on The Tonight Show in August, where they showcased their skills.
“It was surreal to them to be treated like stars,” she said, adding that the team wins competitions both at the international and national levels.
Clark said Jeremiah is remembered as the “powerhouse” of the team that prides itself on its community ties.
“It’s a positive organization that’s constructed around the children,” she explained. “We’re also a family. They can spend the night at my house, eat out of each other’s houses.”
The team is also known for its volunteer work around town.
“Outside of the sport, he was a boy,” Clark said. “He was into football, basketball, soccer. He loves to play tag. He was just a natural little boy.”
“We were saddened to hear of Jeremiah’s passing," a Tonight Show spokesperson said in a statement following news of his death. "He was a break out performer and made so many people happy with his performance. We extend our deepest condolences to his family during this time."
A YouCaring page has been set up to support the family.