‘It won’t be the same’: Teammates remember Bonner Springs teen who died after falling from car

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BONNER SPRINGS, Kan. — A 14-year-old who died after falling off of a moving car has been identified at Ryan Stoway, a sophomore at Bonner Springs High School.

Bonner Springs police said Monday morning that Stoway and another teenager were on the back of a car that a third teen was driving when Stoway fell and hit his head. It happened in the parking lot next to the Bonner Springs High School football field where Stoway spent much of his time.

“He was just like, “What’s up, big guy?” and I was like, “What’s up, bro? How you doing?” friend and football teammate Devon Taylor said of the last words between them. The interaction happened after practice Monday, just before the tragic accident.

Taylor was a defensive end and tackle on the varsity squad; Stoway was the starting junior varsity center.

“He just always pushed and pushed and pushed people to their limits,” said Marquis Williams, who’s been teammates with Stoway since middle school. “Not in a bad way but always in like a positive way to better them.”

Taylor remembered one day in particular when he was struggling in the weight room.

“I had messed up on bench, and he was like, ‘It’s not gonna go up unless you push it up.’ He like yelled at me, and I took it in like, I’m going to get this thing up, and I got it I up,” he said.

That kind of motivation is what these guys will remember most about their friend and teammate. A genuine friend who had great potential on the gridiron, with a goal of playing in the NFL some day. A big guy with a big personality.

“He was a big jokester, the class clown. Every class he was the class clown,” Taylor said.

Taylor was down the street from Bonner Springs High School, playing basketball after practice Monday, when he got a clue something was wrong.

“I saw a lot of policemen and a whole lot of other emergency cars going up the street. I didn’t know what was going on,” he said.

Williams had gone home when he heard that Stoway had died after falling off the back of a car.

“I don’t want to say like numb, but I was like shocked and like didn’t know what to do about the situation,” Williams said.

What happened to Stoway is still sinking in. His friends are unsure about what life will be like without him.

“He is the starting center. It’s not going to be the same without him,” Williams said. “I always had him in my weight group. It won’t be the same. It’s just everything about it is not going to be the same.”

Taylor wrapped up his comments with a sentiment from the entire football team: “Ryan, he will be missed. We all love him. Rest in peace,” he said.

At this point, police do not expect to file any charges in this case, but it’s still under investigation.

Don Hillard, principal of Bonner Springs High School, sent parents this email about the accident:

Dear BSHS Families,

We unfortunately have sad news to share with you this evening. Ryan Stoway, a sophomore here at Bonner Springs High School, was involved in an accident this morning and passed away from his injuries. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to Ryan’s family, friends and loved ones at this time.

As you share this information with your child, please know we are ready to provide support during this difficult time. Counselors and social workers will be available at the high school Tuesday, June 22nd from 10 AM to noon. If your child is struggling with this news, please encourage them to attend.

In the days and weeks ahead, students may have questions or concerns and will require your support at home as they work through their feelings and grief. Although we cannot predict how any child may react, we can be sensitive and aware of the common reactions experienced by grieving adolescents. Some students might experience shock, anger, numbness, sadness, denial, or hopelessness. These emotions are normal. We encourage you to openly discuss with your child their reactions and feelings.

If you feel your child is continuing to struggle with this, please contact one of the local agencies below for additional support.

  • Emma Long (BSHS & CMS Social Worker): longe@usd204.net
  • Solace House: 913-341-0318 
  • PACES: 913-563-6500

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