Saturday, September 26th, 2009
By Shelley Grieshop
Woman killed while crossing the road
  An 80-year-old Maria Stein woman died Friday morning after being struck by a car while retrieving her mail.
Ruth D. Bertke, 2051 St. Johns Road, was pronounced dead at 11:25 a.m. at Mercer County Community Hospital, Coldwater, where she was taken by St. Henry emergency squad following the 7:15 a.m. accident.
The driver of the car, Megan C. Hardesty, 17, 00427 Clover Four Road, New Bremen, did not claim injury.
According to the Mercer County Sheriff's Office, Bertke was crossing the road westbound in front of her home to retrieve her newspaper when she was struck by Hardesty's southbound Ford Taurus.
Hardesty "did not have time to react to avoid the crash," the sheriff's report said.
The crash remains under investigation. No charges have been filed.
Bertke's husband, Dennis A. Bertke, survives along with the couple's 11 children; one child is deceased. She also is survived by 28 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.
Bertke volunteered her time at Marion Local Schools, for the American Red Cross bloodmobile and as a pollworker for the county board of elections. As a hobby, she crafted rosaries.
She was a member of St. John Catholic Church and its Knights of St. John Ladies Auxiliary and its Uniform Rank. Her funeral Mass will be held at the Maria Stein church on Tuesday. Bertke's obituary appears on page 3A.
Seven people have lost their lives this year on Mercer County's roadway in six traffic accidents.
In Auglaize County, law enforcement have investigated the deaths of eight people in eight crashes this year.
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