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Coaches remember legacy of OU student killed in accident

Published: Dec. 28, 2020 at 6:38 PM EST
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WHEELERSBURG, Ohio WSAZ) -Two people identified as Ohio University students were killed in a crash in the city of Athens around 8:30 Sunday morning.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol says 23-year-old Laiken Nicole Salyers of Wheelersburg, Ohio, and 20-year-old Richard R. Turner of East Orange, New Jersey, were driving east on Dairy Lane when they lost control of their 2013 Chevy Cruz.

Authorities say the car slid on the ice-covered roadway before overturning and becoming partially submerged in a creek.

Ohio University issued the following statement after the accident:

Laiken Salyers’ former coaches remember the legacy she left behind.

“The picture of her running out holding the trophy with that huge smile on her face was something to me that just captured everything to me that represented Laiken,” said Teresa Ruby, Wheelersburg varsity head coach.

Those who knew Salyers said her smile lit up a room or an entire community from the ballfield.

“She was a gem,” Ruby said.

She was part of the team that brought home a state softball championship for Wheelersburg High School in 2016.

“As a coach, she was one of the dream kids. She worked hard, took instruction well, and led by example. She was nothing short of a pleasure to coach,” Ruby said.

The loss of her infectious smile and genuine heart is breaking the ones of those she loved the most.

“It’s a tremendous loss to her family. We’re a close-knit community, and this has hit us hard,” Ruby said.

While Salyers had moved on to a new chapter, finishing her fourth year at Ohio University, she never left behind the pride she felt for her hometown.

“She took home with her,” said Susan Reutzel, Salyers’ coach. “She took that big sister role with her anywhere she went.”

Salyers was known for pushing through adversity. Now, her coaches and teammates are inspired to do the same to honor her legacy.

“We need to show up for one another. The best way we can honor her is to pour ourselves into one another,” Reutzel said. “Do everything we can to show up and strive to reach our full potential, because that’s what Laiken did.”

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