Monday, July 7th, 2008
By Margie Wuebker
Coldwater boy struck, killed by car
A 10-year-old Coldwater boy died Saturday night at Children's Medical Center in Dayton of injuries sustained when he was struck by a van earlier in the day.
Ryan W. Miller, 4302 Township Line Road, ran across state Route 219, west of Gause Road, and into the path of a westbound 1996 Chrysler van driven by Christopher Grieshop, 24, 517 E. Main St., Coldwater. The mishap occurred at 2:15 p.m., according to Mercer County Sheriff's Office reports.
Miller, the youngest child of Gary and Jodi Rammel Miller, reportedly ran across the road to invite a younger boy to join him and his family at a nearby Fourth of July campout. An unidentified youngster accompanying Miller was not injured.
The impact threw Miller up and over the Grieshop van, which also contained another adult passenger and four young children, the sheriff's report says. Jodi Miller heard someone screaming "Call 911" and ran toward the road.
"Ryan never saw the van or tried to stop," his paternal grandmother, Jan Miller, told The Daily Standard this morning. "Jodi sat on the ground talking to him and his eyes focused on her for a brief instant."
He initially went by ambulance to Mercer County Community Hospital in Coldwater before being transferred to the Dayton hospital aboard a CareFlight emergency helicopter.
His grandmother said he had multiple fractures as well as head injuries. A grim-faced specialist later broke the news to family members that he was brain dead, she said.
"Ryan was such an energetic boy," Jan Miller said of her grandson. "He liked to show off his gymnastic skills by doing flips and somersaults so effortlessly and oh how he loved camping."
The incoming fifth-grader at Coldwater Elementary School also loved bugs and all kinds of animals. His recently completed bug project is currently on display at Coldwater Public Library as part of the summer reading program.
Jan Miller chuckled softly and remembered him as a "kid with a very, very, very big heart." As a third-grade student, he often skipped outdoor recess to play indoors with a mentally challenged boy. He seemed to gravitate toward younger children and had no problem communicating on their level as an older brother of sorts.
An ornery boy with a ready smile, Ryan truly loved the color pink, she said, adding his favorite T-shirt proclaimed "Tough Guys Wear Pink." Family members plan to don pink bracelets in his honor.
"It was the wish of Gary and Jodi that Ryan be an organ donor," his grandmother said. "He had such terrible injuries that doctors could only take the corneas and three heart valves. Five people will benefit from his special gifts so that something good will come out of such a tragedy."
The family, which includes an older sister and brother, encourages classmates to come to Hogenkamp Funeral Home in Coldwater for special calling hours at 1-2 p.m. Tuesday. Brian Hogenkamp said counselors will be on hand to help those coming to grips with the tragedy.
The accident remains under investigation by sheriff's deputies who described moderate front-end damage to the Grieshop van.
This marks the fifth fatal accident this year in Mercer County with a total of eight lives lost since March 15. Six of the victims ranged in age from 17 to 21 while 10-year-old Miller is the lone pedestrian. The other victim was a 62-year-old Rockford truck driver.
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