Cross-country Runner Struck Near Tama Pronounced Dead

By Vanessa Miller, Reporter

TAMA, Iowa - Hospital officials have confirmed that a 13-year-old cross country runner who was struck by a car during practice Monday evening near Tama has died.

Ian McFate of Toledo was struck by a car around 4:50 p.m. as he was running on a trail that crossed Highway E49, according to the Iowa State Patrol. He was transported to Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, where he was pronounced dead just after 3 p.m. Tuesday, according to hospital spokesman Gregg Lagen.

Morgan McFate, who identifies herself as Ian McFate's older sister, posted this message on her Facebook page about 3:15 p.m.

"My little brother left us today at 3 PM with all of us holding onto and around him," she wrote. "My heart is in pieces. I will always have a special spot in my heart just for him and will remember him everyday. Goodbye Bug. I love you — your big sis."

The driver has been identified as Timothy Nunnikhoven, 30, of Montour. The State Patrol is continuing to investigate, and it's unclear whether Nunnikhoven will face charges.

According to a preliminary report released by the State Patrol, the vehicle – a 2000 Honda Accord – was westbound on Highway E49 when it struck McFate, who was running on the Tama-Toledo Recreation Trail.

The Tama Police Department reported that McFate was a "middle school cross country athlete training at the time."

No injuries were reported to the driver or occupants of the vehicle, according to Tama police.

That trail is just west of Sesame Drive, and it crosses E49 just as the highway transitions from town to country driving. Tama police Sgt. Jeff Filloon said the speed limit in town and in front of the trail is 25 mph, but it jumps to 55 mph about 30 yards west of the trail.

Pedestrians on the trail do not have a stop sign where the path crosses the highway, Filloon said.

The community has not had safety issues with pedestrians on that trail before, Filloon said. But, he said, some drivers do speed up early when they see the 55 mph ahead.

"Out-of-towners do speed up on that road," he said.

Late Monday, a Facebook page was created with the name, "Prayers for Ian McFate." According to the page, Ian McFate is an eighth grader in the South Tama County Community School District who "got hit by a car during cross country practice."

"A good kid and good family. His family needs all the prayers they can get," the page's creator wrote.

Dozens of people have posted on the page words of support, prayers and encouragement. Counselors have been made available at the school today, according to the State Patrol.

The Tama News Herald on Sept. 20 reported that McFate was among the students who helped the school's middle school boys finish fifth as a team in a recent meet. McFate placed 47th, according to the news report.
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