EDWARDSVILLE, IL (KPLR) – Tuesday night, a memorial service provided closure after 22 year-old Anthony Connors was killed in what police believe was a hit and run on February 10th.
The service was held at Sunset Hills Country Club in Edwardsville, where Anthony, or Tony, as many called him, worked as a dishwasher.
Dozens attended the service to honor his life, and give him an emotional final farewell.
“Anthony, he was just such a great kid and had a great heart,” explains a Sunset Hills chef, who took to the podium to talk about him.
Co-workers and loved ones laughed and cried, sharing stories about the young man who had such a bright future. Anthony was a hard worker who didn’t have a car, but always showed up early for work.
Sunset Hills Manager Chris Tsevis says they were proud to have him on staff: “Tony was a great kid, overcame a lot of adversities, and could have easily gone the other direction.”
As proof that many cared for him, country club members, employees, and close friends all pitched in, helping come up with the funds to cremate him.
Anthony was last seen at a Burger King on North Beltline Road. Police say he was struck by a vehicle near the fast food restaurant, and lay in a ditch for days, until an off-duty police officer finally found him.
Now, friends and family are grieving, and searching for justice.
Dawn Phinney took Anthony into her home as a de facto member of the family, especially since his own mother passed away. Phinney’s son, Gene, was Anthony’s best friend.
She explains, “I just don’t know what kind of person that maybe knew they hit somebody, couldn’t just pick up a phone and make an anonymous call. He lay there in the ditch Sunday night, Monday, Tuesday, all the way to Wednesday.”
The tragedy has been especially hard on her son, who says it’s tough to find the words to describe the loss of his best friend: “He was my other half. I don’t know where I’m at right now because he’s gone. I just feel lost,” says Gene Phinney.
Collinsville police are still looking for the driver who may have hit and killed Anthony. They believe the vehicle involved was a 2004-2008 Ford F150 pickup truck, with damage to the front passenger side and headlight.
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