Saturday, November 27, 1999

Police seek driver in boy's death

Parents remember 12-year-old's love of sports, art

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The family of Joseph Longoria is spending Thanksgiving weekend going through the 12-year-old's things and remembering his love of life.

        Joseph, of Demossville, died Wednesday after being hit by two vehicles while riding his bicycle in the 15000 block of Madison Pike, near Piner. The child was pronounced dead at the scene.

        Police are looking for the driver of the second vehicle, who left the scene.

        “We're hoping this person will come forward,” said Kenton County Police Capt. Ed Butler.

        Police ask that anyone with in formation about the second car — which looked like a 1980s, white Chevrolet Monte Carlo — call Detective Wayne Wallace at 356-3191.

        Based on witness accounts, Joseph was hit by a 1988 Dodge pickup truck traveling north on Madison Pike. He was thrown from his bicycle, then hit by a second vehicle traveling in the southbound lane.

        Darrell Strunk Jr., the driver of the pickup truck, stopped and called for help. He was not charged.

        Capt. Butler said police want to talk to the other driver about what happened, not necessarily to file charges. Police want to know why the driver left the scene, he said.

        “We're trying to piece everything together right now, and that's the only piece we don't have,” Capt. Butler said.

        Detective Wallace said he had received five calls about the car.

        “We've had nothing successful yet,” Detective Wallace said. “Nothing concrete.”

        Joseph was a straight-A student at Twenhofel Middle School in Independence, where he was popular among his seventh-grade peers.

        Counselors will be at the school Monday to assist students and faculty who want to talk about their grief.

        Joseph's nickname, Superstar, captured his spirit, said his parents, Joe and Brendeen Longoria.

        He played for the South Kenton Nittany Lions football team, the Piner Booster basketball team and the Taylor Mill booster baseball team. He was riding his bicycle to basketball practice the night he was killed.

        Mrs. Longoria said her son was a talented artist who enjoyed his after-school art classes at Taylor Mill.

        Other survivors include a sister, Sophia Mariel of Walton; two brothers, Jesse and Codie, both of De mossville; his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Santi of Ivins, Utah, Mr. and Mrs. Garry Allred of Jacksonville, Fla., and Mr. and Mrs. Brent Winward of Salt Lake City, Utah; and great-grandparents Mr. and Mrs. J.T. Allred of Duncan, Okla.

        Visitation will be 4 to 9 p.m. Monday at Sherman Full Gospel Church. A service will be 2 p.m. Tuesday at the church. The public is invited to bring a dish to share with the family after the service.

        Burial will be at Independence Cemetery.

        Chambers & Grubbs Funeral Home in Independence is handling arrangements.

        Memorials can be made to the Joseph Longoria Memorial Fund, c/o Firstar Bank, 5262 Madison Pike, Independence 41051.


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