Remembering OU students killed in car crash over holiday weekend

Published: Dec. 29, 2020 at 12:54 AM EST
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ATHENS COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) - Several communities are grieving after losing two Ohio University students in a car crash over the holiday weekend.

“I was at work when my friend Allison called me and she told me,” said Laiken Salyers’ friend, Eden Howard. “I didn’t believe it so I messaged (Laiken’s) brother, Trent, and her mom and I said ‘it’s not true is it’ and her mom told me ‘she’s gone Eden.’”

According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Salyers and her boyfriend, Richard Turner were driving along Dairy Lane in Athens when their vehicle lost control on an icy part of the road. Troopers believe the car slid off the road and overturned into a creek. The car wasn’t noticed until a passerby found it on Sunday around 8:30 a.m.

“Saturday around six o’clock was the last time I talked to her, I FaceTimed her and got to talk to her,” said Salyers’ mom, Chasity Salyers. “Then I sent her a text around 8 o’clock that night and never get a response after that.”

Laiken was 23-years-old, her boyfriend Richard was 20-years-old and both were students at Ohio University. The couple had been dating for about one year.

Laiken’s mom, Chasity, said Laiken took the week off of work to be home for Christmas with her family, which was a bit unusual for her to do. The day after Christmas, Laiken headed back to Athens to have Christmas with Richard and rest up for work on Sunday.

“She got home Christmas night and FaceTimed me and showed me their gifts, showed me pictures of them opening and they were just like two little kids, giggly and smiling,” Chasity told WSAZ. “So happy.”

Laiken is from Wheelersburg and Richard is from New Jersey. Family says both had a passion for loving hard and their families.

“Rich was the sweetest guy, he was so sweet. He was also the oldest of four siblings, he was so good with his little sister,” she said. “Her family was something else she was passionate about, I mean she was the oldest of five and she was their biggest protector, fan, confidant she was just like another mother to them.”

Laiken also helped bring home a state championship her senior year of high school for the school softball team.

Now family and friends of Laiken are keeping her legacy alive by taking a page out of her book and living life to the fullest.

“Worry about what makes you happy and do what makes you happy, Laiken truly did that,” said Chasity. “She truly did that and lived her life to the fullest. She was so spunky, hippy, bright and just a good person.”

“She never lived with any regret and would always tell everyone, if it makes you happy go for it,” said Laiken’s sister, Sydney Salyers. “Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks, ever.”

“She lived in the moment, more than anybody,” Trent Salyers, Laiken’s brother told WSAZ. “She was positive all the time, never dwelled on the past and she was making sure whoever she was around was happy and I know she was making them happy.”

“In my eyes, she was the perfect daughter, nothing I would change,” said Dusty Salyers, Laiken’s dad.

The family told WSAZ Ohio University is going to let Laiken graduate with her bachelor’s degree. The family also thanked the Wheelersburg community for all of their support during this tragic time.

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