Archive for Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Friends mourn accident victim

Ryan Kanost, who was a KU senior, described as caring, intelligent

September 26, 2006


Family and friends of Ryan Kanost said he was extremely intelligent and headed for bigger things, including medical school.

But the 22-year-old Kansas University senior was struck and killed early Saturday while crossing the intersection at 13th and Kentucky streets. Witnesses said the car that hit him sped away without stopping.

Friends and witnesses said about 1 a.m. Kanost was walking with three other friends from Gertrude Sellards Pearson Hall, 500 W. 11th St., to a friend's house near 14th and Kentucky streets.

They looked to the right before crossing the one-way street and saw a car that seemed to be in the distance; the car changed lanes once but appeared to be speeding, said Brandon Seitzer, Kanost's roommate, who was with him when he was struck by the car.

Enoch Jennison, who graduated from KU in May, said he was with a different group at the intersection but also witnessed Kanost's death.

Jennison said he was crossing Kentucky Street about one-third of a block north of 13th and Kentucky streets. He looked to the south and saw a few people crossing Kentucky Street from west to east at the corner of 13th Street. He saw several people in the east lane of the one-way street and one person walking behind them in the west lane, when a car approached "very quickly" and struck Kanost with the front right side of the vehicle.

Ryan Kanost

Ryan Kanost

"He was sent head over heels very quickly, pretty much in our immediate direction. He was sent very far as well," Jennison said.

He called 911 after trying to help Kanost, who was not breathing, he said.

The accident was "horrifying," Jennison said. "I don't think the car even slowed down to what the appropriate speed limit was before speeding off again. He was not driving aware. He was driving way too fast, and he failed to yield to pedestrians."

Kanost's roommate agreed the driver was reckless.

"How fast the driver was going, nobody should drive that way at one o'clock in the morning," Seitzer said.

Caring nature

Kanost's death left friends and family shattered.

"We had always been very close, particularly because he wanted to make himself part of my life and help me in every way that he could," said Ryan's brother Nathan, of Lawrence. "Helping is what made him happy."

"He was just on the road to helping so many people and doing so many beautiful things," said Ned Epps, a KU senior from Manhattan who knew Kanost more than nine years.

Friends and roommates said Kanost had a dry sense of humor and a caring nature. He had coached fifth and seventh grade basketball teams for several years. He had also worked as an after-school supervisor at South Junior High.

Scott Emery, a KU senior, said he and Kanost were best friends. They grew up together in Manhattan and came to KU together.

"He was just the best person that I've ever known," Emery said. "He was really selfless, and he was always doing what he could to help anybody out. He put his neck on the line for me so many times."

'The nicest guy'

Seitzer said he knew Kanost for almost two years. Kanost was taller than 6 feet and could hold his own on the basketball court, he said.

"He was the nicest guy. He didn't have an enemy in the world," he said.

Epps, a high school and college friend, said Kanost was a supportive friend who attended his art shows and concerts.

"He was so important to his friends and important to his family. He was just a big part of everyone. He would help everyone out," Epps said.

His siblings said he was witty and taught his youngest sister, Leah, a Manhattan High School senior, to play the guitar.

"It was often hard for me to eat a meal with him because he would make me laugh so hard I would almost choke," said another sister, Laura, a KU graduate student.

Ryan Kanost was a biology student and son of Jill and Michael Kanost, a distinguished Kansas State University biochemistry professor.

Ryan Kanost had planned to attend medical school.

He had volunteered for the past year in the Lawrence Memorial Hospital Emergency Room, where he helped transport patients and specimens and cleaned rooms and made beds.

Hospital staffers said he was eager to learn, smart, nice, polite and professional.

"It's horrible no matter who it is, but it's that much harder when it's somebody that you know," said Karin Feltman, the emergency room's volunteer coordinator. "It's really a shame because he was such a good person."

His best friend, Emery, said Kanost's easygoing temperament came through once when Emery dented Kanost's first car when they were in high school. Kanost did not react harshly.

"He was just trying to make sure I didn't care about it" and never fixed the dent anyway, Emery said.

Lawrence Police identified Kanost on Monday but said little else about his death. No accident report was available from them Monday. Nor did police identify the driver of the car, who was located later Saturday.

Douglas County Dist. Atty. Charles Branson said police were still investigating the accident and had made no arrests. He said police had a "person of interest" and had recovered the vehicle.

- Staff writers Sophia Maines and Eric Weslander contributed to this report.


mom_of_three 11 years, 7 months ago

I remember him from the South after school program.
What a loss. My thoughts go out to the family.

Becca 11 years, 7 months ago

This is so sad. He was so young, and loved by so many people. How hard is it to stop at a light or a stop sign?

bambam 11 years, 7 months ago

I almost hit some people in the street at 12th and kentucky 2 weeks ago lots of people in the streets lately

MyName 11 years, 7 months ago

Geez, that's less than a block from where I live! Talk about hitting close to home. This is really sad.

happyone 11 years, 7 months ago

This is sad. But perhaps if he had been crossing at the crosswalk rather than jaywalking he would still be alive

tenziewenzie 11 years, 7 months ago

I work in Mccollum hall, a dorm on Campus, I have seen this young man, and can remember his smile. I'm so sorry for the family, and friends.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 7 months ago

Oh, please. Let's not have another "blame the victim" feeding frenzy here.

My heart goes out to the family of this young man.

Curtis Lange 11 years, 7 months ago

happyone, a witness is the one who did not cross the street at the crosswalk. There is nothing in the story about the victim not crossing at the intersection. IMO, it states he was crossing lawfully.

It's sad to see a fellow Jayhawk taken from us so senselessly. :(

Sigmund 11 years, 7 months ago

Tragic, tragic, tragic.

Why hasn't the hit-and-run driver been named? Did I miss it?

1lawrencemom 11 years, 7 months ago

I agree, miker. I knew this young man through the basketball league where he coached my son and his friends and at South Jr. High where he worked to help kids after school every day. This is a huge loss to this community and if nothing else I hope the person who did this will be informed about the incredibly kind and caring soul that they took from this world.

miker 11 years, 7 months ago

This fine young man coached my son in sixth grade city basketball league & I will say that I didn't think guys like this existed anymore. I had seen him on occassion after that season coaching & he was the most giving , kindest gentlemen this dad has seen. This is a loss that was unwarranted. We will miss him. Thanks , Ryan. I hope they send more like you to help steer our young children. You DID make a difference in my son's life that continues to this day. This is a tough one to consider. Please find the driver who did this ! This cannot go unresolved. Vengeance is not my motive , but I am at loss as to why someone could just drive away.

Nikki May 11 years, 7 months ago

Yesterday, they said they found the driver. Maybe they aren't letting too many details out because of the investigation and it will go to court, so the jury pool won't be tainted. Either way, it's devastating.

GratefulBard 11 years, 7 months ago

My son is a special needs student who attended the after school program at South Junior High. Ryan was so kind to him, and my son loved him so much. My family is very sad today. Ryan will be so missed.

OmegaPaiN 11 years, 7 months ago

I've been more than usually bothered by the carelessness of pedestrians and bicyclists lately, and it's sad to see that my concern hasn't been misplaced. Of course this is the fault of the wreckless driver, but this world isn't filled with sober middle aged women and brand new brakes. The streets are a war zone especially between midnight and 3am, and I'm less and less inclined to traverse them even in my full-size pickup. I saw a pretty mean wreck tonight on 9th street. Everyone catch a hint here and be mindful of the hazards. If you're going to drive during those hours, slow the hell down and pay attention. If you and your friends are walking home from the bar, take your time.

keldude83 11 years, 6 months ago

Hey Ryan. Remember when we'd hang out in your room and listen to music? and you'd talk to me like i was the only one there, do you remember that? cuz i do. that was so cool! i love you, ryan and i'll miss you. kelley

roger_o_thornhill 11 years, 6 months ago

keldude83- Please seek help. I'm very serious. This is NOT healthy grieving. STOP READING THIS STRING. It is obviously upsetting you.

keldude83 11 years, 6 months ago

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