Ryan Krug, a 17-year-old honor student at Vashon High School who played tenor saxophone and ran cross-country, was killed in a tragic, single-car accident Tuesday night.
Krug was headed to his Dockton home after a study session at a friend's house when he rounded a corner on Dockton Road near Engels' Repair & Towing. The car apparently slid out of control, possibly because he was trying to avoid a deer, and broadsided into a power pole, according to Assistant Fire Chief George Brown with Vashon Fire & Rescue.
A friend who had been at the same study session was behind him in a truck, stopped and immediately called 911. Brown said Krug died at the scene.
Friends recalled Krug, who turned 17 earlier this month, as both a scholar and an athlete with a zest for life, a keen mind and a relaxed and easy way with people. Tall and lanky, he had a mop of blond hair and a dry sense of humor.
"Ryan lived life fully. He lived every minute of his life," said Roxanne Lyons, whose son Grant Lyons was Krug's best friend.
Through tears, she described family vacations on their sailboat with Krug. He and her son would hop into the dinghy behind the boat, turning it into their own little raft, dive into the water, fish and play, she said. Last spring, she said, the two teens took up slacklining and strung the line between posts at the Dockton pier, trying to arrange it so it looked as though they were walking on water.
"They were just free children. The purest of children. Pure life. Ryan was just pure, full, unabashed life," Lyons said.
Krug, the son of Richard Krug and Rose Belknap, was born and raised on Vashon. He lived his entire life in the Dockton home his parents bought when they moved to the island in 1976. His sister Savannah Krug, also a cross-country runner, is a student at Western Washington University.
Richard Krug said his son, a junior at VHS with a 3.96 GPA, planned to attend college and major in biology. Just yesterday, Richard Krug said, he was making plans to visit colleges with him.
"He was amazing," he said of his son.
Ryan Krug was also a soccer player and an accomplished saxophone player who qualified to play at the statewide band contest in his sophomore year. An avid runner, he competed in Seattle's half-marathon in 2011, completing the 13-mile race in 1:46. He was the captain of the VHS cross-country team two years ago.
At Vashon High School Wednesday morning, counselors from Vashon Youth & Family Services as well as VHS counselors and staff spent time at the library, talking to students who were devastated by the news of Krug's death.
The tragedy has struck the tight-knit school district hard, in part because of Rose Belknap's connection to the school: She works as an artist-in-residence at Chautauqua Elementary School, is a lunchroom supervisor and recently was asked to oversee the Chautauqua library, said Michael Soltman, superintendent at the school district.
"Everybody's really struggling," Soltman said. "It's absolutely devastating."
A scholarship is being set up in Ryan Krug's name. More information will be posted as it's made available.