Archive for Thursday, April 13, 2006

2003 LHS grad killed in wreck

April 13, 2006

Those who knew Sean Ryan will remember him as kind and polite young man.

"He had a lot of respect for everybody all the time," said Connie Evans, Ryan's fourth-grade teacher. "He was a great kid. Absolutely great."

Ryan's death shocked Evans and others at Lansing Intermediate School where his mother, Debbie, teaches fifth-grade.

Ryan was killed Saturday on Kansas Highway 10 near Eudora when the 20-year-old lost control of his Dodge Dakota, overcorrected, drove into the median and flipped several times, landing in the westbound lanes of the highway.

Moments later, a 2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by Lawrence resident Cara Heck, 25, hit Ryan's truck head-on. Ryan, a 2003 Lansing High School graduate, was ejected from his truck and pronounced dead at the scene. He had not been wearing a seat belt, officials said.

Heck was transported by air ambulance to University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, Kan. Heck had been wearing a seat belt. Hospital officials would not release Heck's condition when contacted Sunday night.

Ryan was a student at Johnson County Community College and hoped to transfer to the University of Kansas in the fall, said Laura Gray, a neighbor of the Ryans.

"We're neighbors and family," Gray said. Her daughters grew up with Ryan and his older sister, Jennifer.

Gray said Ryan had hoped to be a film major at KU.

"Sean loved movies. He loved all kinds of literature," she said.

Because of Ryan's love for the silver screen, his family has set up a Sean Ryan Film Scholarship through the film study department at KU, and friends may send memorials to that scholarship or the William E. and Mary E. Fingland Nursing Scholarship at the University of Missouri. Mary Fingland was Gray's mother, who died last fall. Ryan and her mother were close, Gray said.

An obituary for Sean Ryan can be found on page 6B.

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