November 22, 2014

Elyria
Cloudy
49°F
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Dump truck kills 6-year-old getting mail

HUNTINGTON TWP. — A 6-year-old Amish boy crossed state Route 162 to check the family’s mailbox Thursday afternoon and didn’t make it back.

Ohio Highway Patrol troopers said as Levi Shetler stepped from the gravel berm onto the pavement of state Route 162 with envelopes clutched in his hands, he was struck and killed by a truck.

“He kind of spun around, kind of still holding the mail, and walked back out into the road,” said Lt. Glenn Peterson of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. “By that time, the driver was right on top of him.”

A westbound Ford F77 — which Peterson described as a small dump truck — struck Levi. The driver, Herbert Reichle, 55, of Lodi, was hauling sawdust and did not have time to brake or swerve, Peterson said.

Neither alcohol nor drugs are believed to have played a part in the crash, he said.

The investigation remains open, but Peterson said he does not anticipate charges will be filed against Reichle, who was obeying the 55 mph speed limit.

Neighbor Donna Rees and several of her family members were working outside when they heard the truck screech to a halt, she said.

A passing Verizon employee stopped and checked the boy’s pulse, but could find nothing, she said. The small boy was not breathing, and it was obvious he could not be revived by CPR, she said.

The Verizon employee covered him with a coat.

“He was a cutie, always smiling,” she said. “[Getting the mail] was something the kids were very proud to do for their parents. They earned it as a reward.”

Peterson, who is commander of the Patrol’s Elyria post and has nearly three decades of experience, said he has never been so disturbed as he was Thursday by the sight of the boy’s body lying in the roadway.

“It’s just a tragic, tragic, tragic crash. You can’t even believe it’s happened,” Peterson said.

Contact Jason Hawk at 653-6264 or jhawk@chroniclet.com.