By Shelley Grieshop
A St. Marys man with a passion for operating motorized vehicles of all kinds was killed in a traffic accident Saturday afternoon north of the city.
Richard Lee "Richie" Reed, 39, 17857 state Route 66, was pronounced dead at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in the emergency room at St. Rita's Medical Center, Lima, less than an hour after the Auglaize County accident.
Reed was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected as his 1998 Pontiac Trans Am Ram Air overturned several times along state Route 66 near Kossuth Road at 2:55 p.m.
The report from the Wapakoneta post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said Reed was traveling north when the car slid off the right side of the roadway and struck a ditch, rolling over multiple times. The Trans Am came to rest with severe damage after striking a utility pole, the report said.
The state patrol report did not list an estimated speed or suspected cause of the accident. Reed, a former police officer with the village of New Knoxville, was a 1985 graduate of St. Marys Memorial High School and currently worked as a painter at Crown Equipment Corp. His fiance, Vicki Ferren, said Reed was doing what he loved best -- driving his "pride and joy" -- at the time of his death.
"He loved to drive and he loved anything with a motor," she said, adding he also owned a motorcycle and attended remote control vehicle events.
Ferren believes Reed may have been on his way to Lima to pick up items needed to remodel their bathroom. She found out about the accident while helping a friend move Saturday afternoon. The reality has yet to sink in, she said this morning.
"I still think he's coming home," she said softly. "He was a very handsome man, so funny. His main joy in life, besides cars, was teasing people, but in a nice way. He had that twinkle in his eye."
Ferren said Reed loved a challenge and she recalled a vacation the pair took to Mexico in June, six months after her fiance underwent a double hip replacement.
"He said he was going to climb the 100 steps up the pyramid and he went the whole way," she said. "He loved a personal challenge."
Reed survived a serious motorcycle accident years ago that left him in a coma for 17 days, she said. That accident caused him lingering health problems, which led him to the hip surgery last December, she explained.
Reed, who is survived by his father, Ron Reed, and a sister, Theresa Hays, both of St. Marys, loved swimming in the ocean, his pet hamster and his mixed-breed German shepherd, Layla, Ferren said.
"He was a sensitive man, never wanted to hurt anyone's feelings. He ate a lot of things I cooked that weren't very edible and never said a word," she said with a quiet laugh. "He was a good man."
A full obituary appears on page 5A in today's edition of The Daily Standard.
Reed's death marks the eighth traffic fatality in Auglaize County this year and the second this month. On Oct. 5, Thomas A. Machenback Sr., 62, of Mendon, died when he drove his pickup truck into the path of a van near St. Marys.