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‘He made an impact’: Loved ones remembering 18-year-old killed in Avalon crash

AVALON, Pa. — An 18-year-old, now identified as Hayden Ryan, died Monday evening in a crash on Route 65 near Cleveland Avenue.

Allegheny County Police say Ryan was driving southbound when he hit a car driven by a woman. He was killed. Two children, ages 2 and 4 were in the car driven by the woman. The 4-year-old remains in critical condition.

>>> 18-year-old dead, 4-year-old in critical condition after crash in Avalon

On Tuesday morning, a pumpkin and a rose were placed along the sidewalk on Route 65, with messages to Ryan and a small picture of him. Channel 11 saw car parts scattered across the sidewalk on both sides of 65, indicating how violent of a crash this was.

Ryan graduated from Moon Area School District. The district said:

“Hayden was a 2023 graduate of Moon Area School District. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this incredibly difficult time.”

Huck Hughes was Ryan’s welding instructor at Parkway West Career and Tech Center. He said Ryan was one in a million.

“He was one of the kids who the top of the mountain wasn’t going to be enough for him - he wanted more,” Hughes said. “He made an impact on my life and all the kids around him.”

Hughes says Ryan was a bright light that always had a smile.  One year for Christmas, he gave Hughes a framed picture of himself as a joke. Hughes said all the students found comfort in looking at his picture today.

“The world has lost one of the better young men that’s walked this earth,” Hughes added. “It’s a shame we’ll never see what he accomplished in this life.”

John Michalski lives in Avalon along Cleveland Avenue. He said the aftermath of the wreck was awful.

“I saw the two cars that were totaled up on the sidewalk, on this side,” Michalski said. “I saw a lot of firefighters, EMTs, tow trucks, police. They told me not to get any closer.”

Michalski says he’s lived here for nearly 20 years and there have been countless crashes on 65.

“Not sure how many have been fatal,” Michalski said. “There have been quite a few accidents that have been pretty bad.”

While Allegheny County homicide detectives and accident reconstruction teams work to determine what happened, neighbors want to warn drivers to slow down.

“It’s horrible,” Michalski said. “My daughter is 16 now, and I tell her to be very careful especially when driving on 65 and turning on 65.  You can’t really trust other drivers all the time.”

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