At 92, Roy Kromschroeder wasn’t ready to slow down. He loved spending time outdoors, whether on his motorcycle or in his camper, and walked laps every day at Maplewood Mall.
On Friday morning, Kromschroeder was riding his motorcycle to the mall for his daily walk when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver at a St. Paul intersection. He died later that afternoon.
“His life was cut very short,” said his daughter-in-law, Sherry Kromschroeder of Lake Elmo. “That man would have been around to 100.”
According to police, Roy Kromschroeder was driving his Honda motorcycle about 7:45 a.m. at Prosperity and Ivy Avenues when he was hit by a sport-utility vehicle.
Police said the 26-year-old woman driving the SUV stopped momentarily and then fled the scene after the collision but was later arrested in Vadnais Heights. She was cooperating with police, said Howie Padilla, a spokesman for the St. Paul police.
“At this time we aren’t going to speculate on the cause of this accident,” he said.
A witness, Kenlyn Kjesbo of St. Paul, was stopped behind a garbage truck at the intersection Friday morning when she saw a helmet fly into view. The man driving the garbage truck got out and then motioned for her to help him, Kjesbo said.
She saw Kromschroeder on the ground shaking and unconscious, his helmet resting several feet away, she said. The license plate from the vehicle that hit him was embedded in the mangled motorcycle.
While Kjesbo called 911, others grabbed blankets to cover Kromschroeder. A couple of people directed traffic around the accident before authorities arrived.
“This guy was clearly very injured,” Kjesbo said. “We did the best that we could.”
Kjesbo said it was comforting to see so many residents help at the scene.
“He seemed like he must have been very vital and enjoying himself to be riding a motorcycle at 92,” she said of Kromschroeder, adding that he looked younger than his age.
Kromschroeder was a lifelong St. Paul resident. The grandson of Swiss immigrants, he raised his family in the same East Side home he was born in on E. 6th Street. Kromschroeder had two sons and a daughter.
He served in the Coast Guard during World War II and this year participated in the Minnesota Honor Flight in which veterans are flown to the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., said his daughter, Jan Braaten of Oakdale.
In 1979, Kromschroeder retired from his job as a supervisor at the 3M plant on the East Side.
Kromschroeder was a licensed commercial pilot and loved to ride his motorcycle. He used to travel the country in a camper with his bike, along with his wife of 68 years, Lorraine, who died in 2011, Braaten said.
“I think that being on the motorcycle made him feel free,” she said. “He was really in better shape than I was.”
The family, including Kromschroeder, had recently gone camping in Wisconsin.
“We still can’t believe that he’s even gone,” Sherry Kromschroeder said.