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Family reflects on son killed in weekend hit-and-run crash

Oct 9, 2023, 6:44 PM | Updated: 6:52 pm

SANDY — A deadly hit-and-run on the streets of Sandy has left a family devastated and in shock as they remember their son who was killed.

“He would just brighten up anyone’s day just had an infectious smile and was just the kindest person. Just had a light,” said Robby Reynolds, the father of Ryker Reynolds, 22, who lost his life. “Shock, unbelieve(able) that this could happen.”

According to police documents, the driver, Joseph Ornelas, 21, admitted to drinking two shots of rum and had a suspended driver’s license.

Ryker was on his motorcycle, stopped at a red light at the intersection of 1300 East and 7625 South, when he was suddenly hit from behind.

A memorial left behind at the scene of the fatal accident that killed 22-year-old Ryker Reynolds. (KSL TV)

Police say Ornelas then fled the scene. Driving to a gas station where he later called police.

“It doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t feel real,” said Ryker’s girlfriend, McKenzie Barrett.  “I don’t know where I’m going to go from here. We spent like every day with each other. He’s so unique. I’ve never met anyone like him. His style. His music taste. His humor.  He’s just so unique. He just loved everyone never said anything bad about people.”

“I’m sick to my stomach. I’m in shock,” added Becky Liuzzi, Ryker’s mom. “I just want everyone to remember him for being such a good person.”

Along with being a musician and an artist, Ryker also loved Lacrosse. He had just started coaching a seventh and eighth-grade team.

Ryker Reynolds with his father Ryker Reynolds.

Ryker Reynolds with his father Ryker Reynolds. (Photo courtesy of Ryker Reynolds family)

His family says this all could have been avoided if someone who was drinking didn’t get behind the wheel, especially someone who was already facing DUI charges.

“He wasn’t even suppose to be driving,” said Robby. “He was breaking the law on multiple levels he was doing things he knew were wrong, [Ryker] was doing nothing wrong at all every choice he made was a good choice.”

“[The driver] has destroyed so many families, so many lives,” added Liuzzi. “It should not have ever happened. It could have been avoided. There is no reason for this and it happens much too often.

Family and friends have set up a fund to help with funeral expenses you can find that by clicking here*.

Ryker Reynolds playing his guitar.  (Photo courtesy of Ryker Reynolds family) Ryker Reynolds.  (Photo courtesy of Ryker Reynolds family) Ryker with his girlfriend McKenzie Barrett.  (Photo courtesy of Ryker Reynolds family) Ryker in a wedding.  (Photo courtesy of Ryker Reynolds family)

*KSL TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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Family reflects on son killed in weekend hit-and-run crash