TARENTUM (KDKA) – The death of a talented athlete in Tarentum has shaken the community. The 17-year-old two-sport player was getting set to start his senior year at Highlands High School.
Ryan Richards loved life and the honor student was passionate about football and baseball.
“He lived and breathed it. He loved his friends, he loved his family. Just an all-around American kid for me. I couldn’t ask for anybody any better in my life,” Robert Richards said.
His death this weekend rocked the Highlands community. Police said Richards was standing in the back of a moving pickup truck, holding onto the cab when fell out and was killed along Saxonburg Road.
“I am not ready to say goodbye. I don’t know how to say goodbye. He was my baby brother — I only had one,” Danny Richards said.
Family members were greeted by hundreds of teammates, classmates and family friends Sunday night at a vigil to remember Ryan.
“Ryan always told me he wanted to go see his pap. I can see him seeing his pap right now. Probably playing baseball right now. He loves all of you. It’s [going to] be hard for all of us — trust me — but we are [going to] get through it because that’s what he wants.” Damon McDermott said.
McDermott told everyone to hug their best friends and tell them they loved them.
“This is why I love Highlands. I grew up in this type of neighborhood where everyone is close, everyone disciplines everyone else’s kids and there’s a lot of love here,” football coach Sam Alberts said.
Coach Alberts presented Ryan’s family with his No. 25 jersey and said the young man will be named captain of this fall’s team, but knowing that honor can’t bring him back.
“Having him in my life was a gift. It was the greatest gift I have ever received from anybody,” Danny Richards said.
“I can’t imagine life without you, but I know I don’t have to because you will always be here with me and always here with all of us,” another friend said.