Our network

Hit and run victim's family: Anger comes after grief | News

Title (Max 100 Characters)

Hit and run victim's family: Anger comes after grief

MARNE, Mich. (WZZM) -- Autopsy results confirm that 24-year-old Travis Ryke died from blunt force trauma, after being hit by a vehicle in Marne late Friday night.

Members of his family tell WZZM 13 they're now feeling a sense of emptiness.

"I loved Travis; he loved me," says Debbie Ryke, Travis' stepmother.

Ryke was only a few hundred yards from home when he was hit and killed by a vehicle. His stepmother was one of the first to get the call.

"My first thought was, 'How am I going to wake up my husband and tell him that his son is gone,'" says Ryke. "I got on my knees and I said, 'Honey, Travis got hit by a car and he didn't make it.'"

It happened just before midnight on Friday. Investigators say the driver of the vehicle took off.

"A passerby notices him in the roadway soon thereafter," says Captain Mark Bennett with the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department.

Ryke was taken to the hospital where he died. An autopsy determined it was blunt force trauma.

"It's apparent that he died with injuries consistent of being hit by a vehicle," says Captain Bennett.

Investigators say earlier in the night, Ryke had been drinking with friends at Champs in downtown Coopersville. He asked someone he knew for a ride home.

Investigators say Ryke had asked to be dropped off a few hundred yards from his home because he wanted to walk the rest of the way home.

It's not clear why he wanted to walk. However, family members say Ryke was a free spirit, who loved to fish, bike, and maybe brag a little. He would "always say that he could beat Lance Armstrong, he could take him on," says Ryke.

As family members try to piece together their lives, investigators are in desperate need of clues.

Captain Bennett says members of the public should contact investigators with any tips they have; "maybe they know of a vehicle that has some suspicious damage."

"I'm sure there's going to be a lot of anger; I'm sure there will be more after we go through the stages of grief, but right now we're focused on his final resting place," says Ryke.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department or Silent Observer at 1-877-88-SILENT.