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Published: Wednesday, 1/9/2013

Hit-and-run death devastates family

BY MIKE TRESSLER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

FOREST, Ohio - Orange paint marks the spot on the street where a 10-year-old boy was struck by a hit-and-run driver now sought by police.

Tim Altvater, who liked to greet people with a hug, died Sunday after being hit less than a quarter-mile from his home on Saturday. The Ohio Highway Patrol hopes investigation will lead to the driver. Meanwhile, a family mourns the loss of the lone son among four children of Tim and Susan Altvater, and the accident is the talk of this tiny Hardin County town about 80 miles south of Toledo. “He was my only son. I love my girls, but he was my only boy,” Mr. Altvater sobbed. “We tried so hard to have a boy, and finally he was born. He was such a good boy. He was a wonderful boy. He had his ornery times, but that was him being a boy. He wanted to grow up to be just like his dad, me. Now, I'm lost.

“It feels like something tore my stomach, and my heart, right out of me. How could someone do that? Hit him and leave him for dead? Oh, I hope they catch the cold-blooded person who left our boy lying in the road.” After a pause, Mr. Altvater sighed and added, “But that won't bring back my boy.”

Tim had taken his foot-powered scooter, a Christmas gift from an aunt, to a store Saturday. He was returning, either carrying or riding the scooter, when he was hit about 6 p.m., Trooper Melanie Wyatt said. A motorist reported the child in the street and summoned help. He died the next day in St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, Toledo.

“He went to get a snack and was coming home,” said the boy's aunt, Cindy Gay. “He was such a lovable child. He loved to hug people.”

“If he just met somebody, he'd shake your hand and give you a hug,” said Cliff Thompson, Ms. Gay's fiance.

The accident happened around the corner from Forest Elementary School, where Tim was in third grade.

Officials brought in ministers and counselors to help children deal with grief there and at three other schools in the district that Tim's sisters, LeeAnn, 14, Heather, 13, and Krystal, 12, attend.

“It's very quiet in school today,” Forest Principal Julie Spade said. “Timothy was a very well-liked boy by other students, a real treat to have here at school.”

“He was a very enthusiastic student, a good all-around kid,” echoed Dr. Joyce Plummer, superintendent of Riverdale Schools.

Yesterday, a large Rottweiler guarded the Altvater home on Madriver Street. “It was Tim's job to feed Sid. Oh, how he loved that dog,” Mr. Altvater said.

He mourned with his daughters at a relative's home a few miles away as his wife made funeral arrangements in Kenton.

“Tim loved riding his bike, loved to go camping and sledding, and he went swimming every day in the summer,” Mrs. Altvater said.

The family donated organs from their son and were told two people benefited. “It makes me feel good to know that our boy helped somebody else stay alive,” Mrs. Altvater said.



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