An 85-year-old retired pastor and church founder was hit by an SUV and killed as he walked back to his Cottage Grove home from the mailbox across the street, police said Wednesday.
The Rev. Benjamin F. Tims Sr. was struck shortly after 2 p.m. Tuesday along 70th Street near Good View Avenue S. Emergency responders declared him dead at the scene.
Tims was doing just as he has always done, said police Deputy Director Pete Koerner: He walked out of his house, crossed 70th Street, also known as County Hwy. 22, and got his mail. Only this time, an SUV hit him in the lane closest to his home.
Koerner said it’s understandable but unfortunate that Tims would take the quicker and more direct route to his mailbox, rather than cross at the intersection 200 feet to the east.
The SUV driver, a 52-year-old woman from Cottage Grove, remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators. Koerner said that preliminary information suggests that the driver was not speeding, was not impaired, nor was she distracted by her cellphone.
Tims, an Assemblies of God minister, founded Light the Way Church in Cottage Grove in 1994, said the Rev. John Magee, who is senior pastor at the church and also Tims’ son-in-law of 28 years.
Magee said Tims and his wife of nearly 59 years, Frances, have been living at that home for the past 14 years and lived in another house across the street for more than 20 years before that.
“He was familiar with 70th Street,” Magee said.
Now Magee is left with the duty of officiating Tims’ memorial service this weekend at Light the Way.
“I’ll do my best,” Magee said. “I don’t know. I didn’t see it coming.”
Along with his wife, Tims is survived by four children, 14 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. Services are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Light The Way, 7000 Jamaica Av. S., with visitation two hours before.