The 76-year-old man killed in a hit-and-run near his home in Big Lake was likely struck by an SUV-type vehicle or pickup, around 6:45 a.m. Sunday, authorities said Monday.

Ira Everett Shank was retrieving his Sunday Star Tribune from a mailbox along Hwy. 25 when he was hit. Sherburne County authorities say there should be damage to the left portion of the vehicle and possibly to the driver's side mirror.

Shank was probably struck within 15 minutes of the 6:59 a.m. 911 call received by the Sherburne County Sheriff's Office, according to information provided by Dr. Janis Amatuzio of the Midwest Medical Examiner's Office.

Anyone with knowledge of an SUV or pickup that was recently damaged, or anyone with knowledge of travelers on Hwy. 25 between Monticello and Big Lake between 6:30 and 7 a.m. Sunday, should call the Sherburne County Sheriff's Office at 763-241-2500.

Shank, a former bartender-turned-farmer, suffered from arthritis. Family members said they lobbied the local post office twice in the past five years to relocate his mailbox to his side of the street, which he kept illuminated with a light.

Their pleas were rejected despite the highway's 55-mile-per-hour speed limit, said Shank's daughter, Rachael Smith. The family was told the switch would be too dangerous for the postal carrier, Smith said.

Postal officials could not be reached for comment because of the federal holiday Monday.

Shank was retrieving his newspaper Sunday morning when the vehicle struck him, according to the Sheriff's Office. The driver fled. Another driver found Shank lying on the road and called authorities. He was taken by ambulance to Monticello Hospital, where he died.

Paul Levy • 612-673-4419