Towson U. freshman dies after accident

Man charged with drunken driving

October 15, 2007|By Rona Marech | Rona Marech,SUN REPORTER

Articles published Monday and Tuesday about a car accident that claimed the life of a Towson University freshman might have created confusion about when he died. Kevin Ryan was declared dead Saturday, according to a Sinai Hospital spokeswoman, but doctors kept him on life support until Sunday so his organs could be donated. Also, his age was incorrectly reported in one of the articles. He was 18.

The Sun regrets the errors.

A Towson University freshman who police say was struck by a drunken driver while walking from a friend's off-campus house to his dormitory died yesterday.

The death of Kevin Ryan, an 18-year-old graduate of Atholton High School in Columbia, came two days after he was hit by a car, giving his family time to decide to donate his organs and doctors time to find recipients.

Ryan was heading home at 2 a.m. Friday after an evening watching television and playing cards, when a car went out of control on Hillen Road near Goucher Boulevard, jumped the curb and struck him, Baltimore County police said.

He was thrown across several lanes and was hit by a second car as he lay in the street.

The first driver, Matthew Miller, 25, of the 8300 block of Kendale Road in Loch Raven Heights, was charged with three offenses related to driving under the influence, eight hit-and-run charges and two criminal charges for causing a life-threatening injury while impaired, said Officer Richard Kesterson of the county police's crash team.

Miller was traveling east on Hillen Road near Lake Drive when his 2002 Subaru sedan struck a curb and veered to the left, hitting Ryan on the sidewalk on the south side of Goucher Boulevard and Hillen Road, Kesterson said. Miller re-entered traffic on Goucher, leaving the scene, the officer said.

Miller's blood-alcohol content was 0.13 percent, Kesterson said. His bail was set at $50,000, he said.

The driver of the second vehicle will not be charged, Kesterson said.

Ryan was taken to Sinai Hospital's intensive care unit and, by Friday afternoon, it was clear that he would not survive, his father, Charlie Ryan, said yesterday.

His son had chosen to be an organ donor when he recently exchanged a provisional driver's license for a standard one, which his family discovered when they were given a bag of his personal items from the crash scene.

"We decided to honor his wishes and to fully embrace it," his father said.

Doctors kept the teenager alive until Saturday while they waited to find matches for his organs. Though it will be several weeks before the family has a full report, they know that most of the recipients live in the Baltimore area and that the donor program found a match for his heart and kidneys.

"We're taking a lot of solace knowing that other people are going to be happy while our grief is overwhelming," his father said.

Friends and family described Ryan, who was studying finance at Towson, as a well-liked, easygoing teenager who was quick to joke and adored the beach and sports.

Ryan played varsity football and junior varsity baseball at Atholton; he also loved soccer and volleyball. He was a fan of the Washington Nationals and Redskins.

"He lit up a room whenever he came into it," said Andy Yare, a Towson student who had been friends with Ryan since first grade. " ... His attitude made everything and everybody around him seem lighter and better."

Yare was with his friend the night he was hit but left the gathering first because he had an early class. He had expected to see Ryan in an English class the next day. He thought his friend had overslept.

Over the weekend, one of Ryan's friends created a group on the social networking Web site Facebook called "Kevin Ryan Will Always Be In Our Hearts." Within hours, dozens of people had posted messages.

"We will all make you proud to have known us just as proud as we were to have known you!" one person wrote.

Ryan's family is planning to create a scholarship fund in his name for Towson students.

"That's where we want to channel our efforts," his father said. "He was blossoming there."

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