Kyle Ryder Slinker was slightly built when he was a freshman at St. Charles North, 5-foot-4 and barely 100 pounds, his family said.
“He had a very good sense of what is right and wrong and to stand up for the little guy,” his father Craig Slinker said. “He was smaller when he was growing up and got picked on – and he still stood up for people.”
His son – the oldest of three boys – eventually took up weightlifting and grew to nearly 6 feet tall and 185 pounds of muscle by the time he graduated in 2012, Slinker said.
“He was big and strong and just an awesome guy,” his father said. “But he was still very shy around girls.”
Kyle Slinker, 19, died April 13 of severe head trauma following a car crash April 11 in Missouri.
A student at Elgin Community College studying business, Slinker still was living with his family in South Elgin, his father said.
“We’re a very close family,” Craig Slinker said. “We would go work out at the gym together. ... It was so much fun to be with him. Even at almost 20, he made it a point that if I sat on the couch, he would sit on my lap and snuggle me – in a manly way – with a headlock or trading slugs in the leg. It was his way of being close.”
Slinker was a passenger in a car driven by Nicholas Kisereu, 19, of South Elgin, and Zachary Richman, 20, of St. Charles, on their way to visit a cousin at the University Missouri in Columbia, his father said.
Missouri State Trooper James Bava said the four-way intersection where the crash occurred has stop signs for east-west traffic, but north-south traffic does not stop.
A 2006 Dodge Dakota driven by a Missouri resident struck the 2012 Chevy Cruze driven by Kisereu on the driver’s side, where Slinker was a rear seat passenger. All were wearing seat belts, Bava said.
“Their vehicle was facing west and turning south or left, and they did not realize the incoming traffic does not stop,” Bava said. “It’s a very hazardous intersection. We work many crashes there, many fatalities.”
Kisereu received a traffic citation for failure to yield, Bava said.
“My sergeant has advocated for signs in each direction warning that traffic does not stop, and that has helped a little bit,” Bava said.
Craig Slinker said the impact was so severe, his son had to be extricated from the vehicle and paramedics told him Kyle was not breathing. Kyle was flown to the University Hospital at Columbia, where he was placed on a respirator, but scans showed bleeding, compression and pressure building in his brain, his father said.
After doing repeated tests seeking a sign of brain activity, the hospital pronounced him dead, his father said.
“We could see him alive, breathing,” Craig Slinker said. “We could touch him, and he was warm. He was there – though he was not there. And then we chose to donate his organs. ... We will celebrate how good of a young man he was, and how he continues to make contributions even though he is not directly here. He was always a good kid.”
The visitation will be from 2 to 8 p.m. today at Yurs Funeral Home, 405 E. Main St., St. Charles. The funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, also at Yurs, followed by a private burial.
Friends of Kyle Slinker, 19, who died as a result of a car crash, will host a walk for him and brain injury awareness at 8:30 a.m. April 27 at Jon Duerr Forest Preserve, 35W003 Route 31, South Elgin. For information, visit www.facebook.com/kyle.r.slinker.