Dozens gather for 5k in honor of BGSU student killed in crash

HENRIETTA TOWNSHIP, Ohio — While school is closed for the holidays, hundreds gathered outside Firelands High School near Oberlin as a way to support one of their own.

Back on Sept. 4, Ryan Walker, a junior at Bowling Green University and an alumnus of Firelands High School, along with three longtime friends, were headed back to campus after a Guardians game, bowling and ice cream. They were about 20 minutes from campus when the Ohio State Highway Patrol said a driver tried to pass several cars on the two-lane US 6.

RELATED: Driver who killed college student headed back to Bowling Green had been drinking, said police

Police said that driver hit the car head-on that the college kids were in, killing Ryan. Ryan was in the backseat passenger seat. Additionally, troopers said that same driver had previously hit two other cars that same evening.

Troopers believe the driver who hit them had been drinking.

However, for this Thanksgiving, Ryan Walker’s family and friends channeled their grief into good, as part of a fundraising 5k.

“We want to support this community the way they supported us,” mother Belinda Walker explained while wearing bib 20 in honor of her son. “He was an accomplisher. He had visions, he had dreams and he fulfilled them all, all of them at his beautiful age of 20.”

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“We planned this in 20 days, I didn’t know what to expect,” brother Eddie Santos said with a smile.

About 200 people showed up and took part in a 5k and one-mile walk to help raise money for the DRW Foundation, which is set to give out scholarships to students at Firelands High School in honor of Ryan.

“We would like to give it to a student, a senior going on to college,” father David Walker explained. “Whether it be a laptop, or whatever, however they want to use it.”

RELATED: Scholarship to honor BGSU student killed in crash with suspected drunk driver

Among those waking up early was Vinny Morales, who was in the car with Ryan that September night.

“I think about it every morning, every night when I go to bed,” he explained.

Morales, who uses a walker, told News 5 he had no plans of watching other people run. Instead, he took part in the one-mile run himself.

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Vinny Morales, second from the right, takes part in the one mile run in honor of his friend, Ryan Walker.

“I’m walking along with him on the track,” Morales said. “I’m going to try to do as much as I can. I’m doing that mile for my buddy.”

In addition to the scholarship foundation, Ryan’s family is on a mission to change lives and increase penalties for drunk drivers.

“Ryan was light and his legacy will continue to shine bright,” brother Eddie Santos added.

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