From sports to medieval re-enactments, Ryan Sherrod had a wide array of interests and a wide array of friends who knew they could count on him, family members say.
"He was the kind of kid you need a hand he'd give it to you," his father Jim Sherrod said Wednesday night. "If you were a friend you were a close friend."
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The 18-year-old from North Aurora was on his way to a gaming club at Waubonsee Community College Wednesday afternoon when he and his best friend, Brandon Utley, 19, of North Aurora, died in a two-car crash.
Sherrod was driving a 2002 Chrysler south on Route 47 and began to turn into the north entrance of the school when they were struck on the passenger's side by a garbage truck about 1:50 p.m., according to Kane County sheriff's Lt. Pat Gengler. The Mack garbage truck owned by Allied Waste Services in Aurora was heading north on Route 47 and was unable to stop. There are no traffic control devices at the intersection.
Utley, the passenger of the Chrysler, was confirmed dead at the scene. Sherrod was pronounced dead at Provena Mercy Medical Center in Aurora, Gengler said.
Sherrod had just started taking automotive classes at Waubonsee, according to his father, and was excited about being in a gaming club at the school. Jim Sherrod said his son loved any kind of game - video games, board games and sports. He played soccer for three years at West Aurora High School, where he graduated in 2009, and also enjoyed baseball and football.
The teen took after his father, picking up a hobby of doing medieval reenactments in his spare time. As an 18-year-old, he had just been authorized to battle against adults.
"He enjoyed what life he had," Jim Sherrod said. "We're sad it went so early."
Sherrod was also known for helping others whether at a local food pantry, working at his grandmother's house or mowing neighbors' lawns.
Brandon Utley was one of those who could count on Sherrod and vice versa. The two grew up in the same neighborhood and were best friends, according to Jim Sherrod.
"Brandon was a good kid and liked games a lot too," Jim Sherrod said.
Police are continuing to investigate Wednesday's crash and have not issued any citations. Route 47 reopened at 5:50 p.m. Wednesday.
The driver of the garbage truck, William Gronka, 32, of Plainfield, was taken to Provena Mercy Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries following the crash.