BILLINGS — It was just like any other day for 13-year-old Louis Toth on Wednesday as he biked to school. But things quickly changed when he was struck by a car driven by an unidentified man, leaving Toth to take care of himself.
“I remember crossing the street and then once I get down to Patricia, there’s a car," Toth said on Thursday. "And then the dude in the car was looking the opposite way and he started turning. And then he turned right into me."
Toth is a seventh-grade student at Will James Middle School. He was hit at the intersection of Poly Drive and Patricia Lane.
“I just grabbed my bike. It was broken," he said. "Just kind of used it to get here."
Toth is on crutches as a result of his injuries.
“It felt like a little sting at first, but then it kind of got worse after that,” Toth said. “I got cuts and wounds on my ankle. I got an X-Ray. Nothing’s broken, but my growth plate might be fractured."
Unsure of what to do, Toth headed to school. Once he was at Will James, the school called his parents.
“The school called, and I was actually with a client, so I didn’t get to take the call. But after that, I called my husband, and they had contacted him. He was on his way to the school to get Louis, and then they of course went to the ER to get his ankle looked at to make sure nothing else was wrong,” said Dusty Toth, Louis' father, on Thursday. “We just kind of went into problem-solving mode, shock mode, you know, of what’s happening. Just trying to figure out how it happened, what happened, why the person didn’t stop to make sure that a kid was okay."
Dusty said he and his husband teach their children that it's okay to make a mistake as long as they try and fix the situation.
"We try to teach our kids that if they make mistakes, to own up to those mistakes, and to make sure that the person you hurt or whatever is okay. And so, I don’t know, I just wish adults in our community would role model that, you know? To make sure," Dusty said. "If Louis made a mistake, if it was his fault or the other person's fault, whatever. Make sure that kid’s okay, you know?”
Dusty said Louis took himself to school after the incident for help, knowing it was a safe space.
“Louis said that the guy rolled down his window to see if he was okay. And then, you know, a 13-year-old in shock says, ‘I guess?’ He doesn’t really know. He’s alive, luckily. But yeah, he just drove off,” Dusty said. “Louis just went to the school, you know, he went to that safe place. That place that people can help him.”
According to a spokesperson from the Billings Police Department, Louis was struck by a silver 4-door passenger vehicle at the intersection of Poly Drive and Patricia Lane. The driver of the car asked Louis if he was okay and then left the area. The driver and vehicle have not yet been located.
But the Toths want the community to keep an eye out.
“The officer from the school came to the ER and visited with Louis to kind of get a description. Smaller silver car, he said it was an ‘older dude’ with grey hair," Dusty said. "He was wearing a plaid shirt yesterday morning. It would have happened between 7:30-7:40 yesterday on Poly and Patricia."
If you have information on the hit-and-run, contact the Billings Police Department.
"With summer coming up and school ending, people just need to slow down. Slow down anytime. I think even if you’re running late to work or whatever, just take some extra time. Especially if you’re going to choose a route that’s busy with schools and stuff. But ultimately, I wish people would choose to slow down."