Traverse City Record-Eagle

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January 5, 2014

Record-Eagle’s Top 10 news stories of 2013

EDITOR’S NOTE: Residents of the Grand Traverse region witnessed triumph and tragedy in 2013, ranging from senseless, heart-rending incidents and government failures to messages of hope and moments of pointed community debate. Together, they comprise the Record-Eagle’s Top 10 news stories of 2013.

1) Bicyclist Kelly Boyce killed by unknown motorist

A bicyclist’s hit-and-run death in July sparked an outpouring of grief, but the crime remains unsolved after a six-month investigation aided by a massive community response.

Kelly Ann Boyce, 29, was pedaling home from work early July 5 when a motorist struck her in the 600 block of Washington Street. Neighbors heard her screams as a vehicle dragged her more than a block to a Railroad Street alleyway, where she lay dying within sight of her home and asking for her husband, Paul Hurlbert.

The story gripped Traverse City residents: police received hundreds of tips, a $50,000 reward was established, rumors spread about potential links to other hit-and-run cases and bicyclists debated whether the city is friend or foe of two-wheeled transportation.

But most of all, the city’s residents mourned a young newlywed in love with life, her friends and family, dancing, music, pandas, her two dogs and her husband.

“I was a fun-loving idiot who got lucky,” Hurlbert told a crowd of hundreds gathered in F&M Park for a memorial service one week after Boyce’s death. “She saw something in me and kept at it until her loving ways started making sense to me.”

The crowd took to their bicycles and stretched across downtown Traverse City. They stopped Front Street traffic for a funeral procession in defiance of the motorist who sped off and continues to elude police.

Witnesses described the suspect’s vehicle as a dark pickup truck or sport utility vehicle, and most of the 600-plus tips regarded vehicles with similar descriptions. Detectives grappled with the flood of tips with help from state police and FBI agents, performed neighborhood canvasses, collected bar tabs and hotel bills and inspected video cameras along the vehicle’s likely escape route.

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