'Fun, loving' teen mourned by community

Marco Santana/GateHouse News Service
A group representing a small portion of the large turnout stands May 27 during a candlelight vigil for Alex Roberts in Altona. Roberts, 16, died in a single-vehicle accident May 25.

Eric Bollinger heard the call on his scanner.

A pickup truck had veered off Knox County Highway 4 and had come to rest on its top in Walnut Creek.

It was similar to many calls he had heard before. But a female friend’s phone call soon thereafter revealed the difference in this call.

The truck’s driver was Bollinger’s best friend and fishing buddy, Alex Roberts.

“She kept on saying his name,” Bollinger said of the phone call. “She kept saying ‘Eric, I’m sorry.’”

Roberts died about an hour after the accident. On Wednesday, May 27, more than 200 friends, family and community members gathered in Altona Park for a candlelight vigil in Roberts’ honor.

Bollinger had planned to go fishing with Alex this past weekend. The two had known each other since kindergarten and had grown extremely close.

“Every time you saw Alex, I was right next to him,” Bollinger said. “If I wanted anything, he’d give it to me.”

Roberts had always enjoyed fishing and anything that had to do with the outdoors. He had finished a hunting safety course in the spring and had received a bow and arrow for Christmas.

“He was anxious to get out and bag that big deer,” said Alex’s father, Scott Roberts. “He was very adventurous.”

The elder Roberts said Alex was rarely in a bad mood, which caught on with others.

“He always had an upbeat, good attitude,” Scott Roberts said. “Even when things weren’t going great, he always looked at the bright side of everything. You couldn’t ask for a better kid.”

For more of this story, see the June 4 Galva News.

The ROWVA community is mourning the loss of Alex Roberts, a sophomore who was killed in an auto accident on May 25. A passenger, Monika Mahnesmith, was seriously injured.