NEW BRIGHTON (KDKA) — The family of a New Brighton man killed in an incident Friday is giving the gift of life to his best friend and neighbor.
Andrew Dietz, 27, is thanking his best friend while recovering from a kidney transplant at UPMC Montiefiore. Dietz received the gift from New Brighton neighbor 27-year-old Ryan Minett, who died in an auto accident in Cranberry.
Eric Minett has been mourning the loss of his son since Friday, but he remembered his son’s friend.
“We were sitting there talking and it just clicked,” Minett said. “I’m like, ‘His buddy needs a kidney,’ and the people at CORE actually said, ‘Well, we can check.'”
“Truly amazing, the most difficult decision of your life, and you’re thinking of your neighbor, you’re thinking of a kid who’s in need,” Rob Dietz, Andrew’s father, said.
Andrew suffers from a rare kidney disease called FSGS and needed a transplant. When doctors discovered his and Ryan Minett’s blood types matched, Andrew was moved to the top of the donor list and went into surgery overnight.
“He woke up, and his spirits were high. They said he had a really good blood flow and the heart was good,” Rob said. “Everything looked good at that point.”
“I think it’s definitely what [Ryan] would have wanted,” Eric said.
Eric Minett admits his son was far from perfect, but says he always tried to do good.
Eric says the night Ryan was killed, he was trying to stop a woman from picking up her children while driving drunk.
Watch Lynne Hayes-Freeland’s report —
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that woman was 28-year-old Jessica Ann Royall, Ryan’s girlfriend.
“He was trying to do something very right by stopping her,” Eric said, “and she didn’t want to have any part of it.”
The Post-Gazette says she reportedly sped along residential streets in Cranberry Township while Ryan clung to the luggage rack of her SUV. He was eventually thrown from the vehicle and sustained fatal injuries.
“Even though he is not here right now, he is still… he did his greatest thing in death,” Eric said.
Andrew will be out of the hospital soon. His father is making a promise to Eric.
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“Eric does live right next door, so every day, when he gets to come outside, he gets to see Drew and he gets to see his son, Ryan, live on through Drew,” Rob said.
“Every time I see him, I’m going to see part of my son, so…” Eric said. “I’m just… I just couldn’t believe how everything worked out.”
Royall was arrested at her home and is in the Butler County Jail, charged with felony assault and drunken driving. She will also be charged with homicide by vehicle.