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Stay Out Stay Alive Fatal Accident Summaries
for 2005

Boy dies as tree hits him after gravel pit landslide
Associated Press

Rome City, Ind. -- Children throwing rocks in a northeastern Indiana gravel pit triggered a landslide that caused a tree to fall onto one of the boys, killing him, police said. Rome City Town Marshal Steve Heltzel said Ryan A. Coe, 11, and five playmates were throwing rocks against a 30-foot-high sand cliff Friday, Sept. 23, when it collapsed, bringing the 40-foot tree down on the youngster.

Coe, a fifth-grader at Rome City Elementary School, was pronounced dead at the scene, said Floyd Rinehart, deputy marshal in the town about 30 miles north of Fort Wayne. The Noble County coroner determined the cause of death to be a skull fracture. The other children were not injured in the incident.

Neighbors say the pit is a popular destination for children. "Boys like riding bikes on dirt out there," said Bonnie Bolen, who lives nearby.

The gravel pit's owner, Skip Altimus, Wawaka, said he had erected signs warning against trespassing, but they later were missing or broken.

"I'm heartbroken that the child got killed," he said. "It's very unfortunate."