BONNER SPRINGS, Kan. — There have been a lot of rumors and speculation about what happened in the tragic accident that killed 14-year-old Ryan Stoway, who died after falling off a moving vehicle.
His best friend, who was there at the time, talked to FOX4 to set the record straight.
“I think that the misconceptions are that we were goofing around and just driving around being crazy and stuff, and I just wanted to kind of clear it up,” said Logan Bilyeu, who was also riding on the SUV. “We were just trying to take a ride from one side of the building to the other, and it was just a freak accident that happened.”
Bilyeu and Stoway jumped on the bumper of the SUV and were holding onto the luggage rack for a quick trip to the other side of the parking lot. They were on their way to paint the football field for the Bonner Springs 7-on-7 game Monday night.
Bilyeu said when Stoway fell off and hit the ground, his body went limp. Bilyeu knew his friend was in trouble.
“I feel like if he had rolled to the side or fallen even on his stomach, he would’ve been OK,” Bilyeu said. “But he just fell right onto his back, and all the force of the movement and everything just slammed the back of his head.”
Bilyeu described Stoway as one of the most genuine people he has ever known. The two became friends through football, playing video games, and their friendship was solidified during marathon, late-night conversations.
“They got deep at some points, talking about life and stuff. We just told every each other everything,” Bilyeu said.
As Bilyeu works through his grief, he has a message he hopes might save someone else’s best friend.
“I get that kids are still going to do stuff like this; it’s still going to happen. But I just hope people think more before they do it, and they know what their outcome could be,” Bilyeu said.
“I don’t even know what to feel at some points. It’s definitely sometimes anger. I have played the what-if game, and I know that that’s a bad road to go down, and I just miss him mainly.”
When it was clear Stoway would not survive his injuries, his family made an important decision to help save others lives.
“His sister, she had an immune disorder, and she has been an organ recipient. So he was very big on being an organ donor and a lot of his organs are going to be used,” Bilyeu said. “It makes me feel honored to be able to be so close with him and be that close with him in life.”
While Stoway’s organs going to help others, his soul is staying with the Bonner Springs football team.
“I’m going to try to work as hard as I can for this football season try to motivate people like he did,” Bilyeu said.
There are many ways to become an organ donor. For more information, contact your primary care doctor or organizations in Kansas City like the Midwest Transplant Network.