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Teen killed in ATV accident remembered as athletic, kind

Published: Sunday, April 8 2012 10:00 a.m. MDT

Jeremy William Bryant, shown riding a four-wheeler on his Facebook page, was killed Saturday in an accident at the Little Sahara Recreation Area. Bryant was 16.

JERICHO, Juab County — Jeremy William Bryant, 16, was remembered Sunday as someone who lived his life to the fullest and had his "pedal to the metal" all the time.

But he also cared deeply about others. Jeremy's mother said that kindness will now always be remembered as his final act as his organs will be donated to others.

"We're very excited for him to be alive in so many other people now," Shahri Bryant

On Saturday, Jeremy, of Salt Lake City, was killed in an ATV accident about the Little Sahara Recreation Area. He was riding a four-wheeler over a 20-foot sand dune and crashed at the bottom, Juab County Sheriff's Lt. Brent Pulver said.

His mother said Jeremy, an experienced rider, apparently broke his neck and was killed instantly.

Sunday, Jeremy's family members and friends reacted with shock and sadness over the news of his death.

"He loved doing everything, he loved people, he loved everybody and cared about everybody," his brother Josh Bryant said.

Jeremy was a sophomore at Brighton High School. Many friends Sunday recalled how the avid ATV and motorcycle rider would attempt things that no one else would.

"He lived his life to the fullest and that's one thing I loved about him is he didn't care, he lived his life to the full," Hall said.

"He was very extreme, he did the craziest stuff no one else would. He was the best kid I ever knew," added another friend, Ben Ukoh-eke.

His brother, Josh Bryant, concurred, "He kind of had the pedal to the metal. He liked to go fast, but he tried to have as much fun as he possibly could."

Jeremy's mother said her son liked anything with a motor. Shahri Bryant last saw her son on Thursday when she bought him a new shirt and boots to go riding in this weekend. She said her son, who had just received his learner's permit, drove all over town just to drive her truck.

When getting his permit, Bryant said Jeremy became an organ donor.

"He was really excited about it. 'Sure mom I'll donate some of me'. So I know he'll live on," she said.

In addition to dirt bikes and ATV's, Shahri Bryant said her son loved to dance and would often record videos of himself and his friends dancing and post them on You Tube.

Sunday afternoon, as word of Jeremy's death spread amongst his friends, Bryant said her son's cell phone continued to ring from people just hearing the news. Other friends posted messages on his Facebook wall. Bryant said she had received texts on her own phone from Jeremy's friends telling her how much he had changed them.

"He was always the life of the party. he made everyone laugh, giggle," she said.

Several friends Sunday recalled how he taught them all how to breakdance and ride a longboard.

"He was a  great person, he was always happy," said friend Ruben Silva. "He could figure out how to brighten your day up."

"He taught me a lot of things, how to dance and longboard, I think that's something I can carry with me the rest of my life, something that's just a part of me and is going to go on forever," Kyle Hall said.

The day before Jeremy left to go camping with his family for the Easter holiday weekend, he texted Hall.

"We told each other to have fun," Hall said.

After Bryant told Hall to have a good weekend, Hall replied, "You too."

"That was the last thing I said to him," he said. "He was just a really good person...he had his whole life ahead of him...I think it was just too soon."

Hall said he received a text from Jeremy's mother Sunday morning saying that her son died doing something that he loved.

Pulver said the teen was wearing a helmet and was an experienced ATV rider.

The accident remains under investigation, according to the sheriff's office.

"With the sport, it's going to happen, unfortunately," Pulver said.

The Little Sahara Recreation Area covers more than 60,000 acres and includes sagebrush flats and free moving sand dunes. The entrance to the recreation area is about four miles west of Jericho.

On its website, the Bureau of Land Management encourages safe play at Little Sahara, noting that "each year several people are seriously injured or killed on the dunes due to accidents."

"They ride over a dune, not realizing the steepness of the other side or how far down it is to the bottom," Pulver said. "That's a pretty common crash."

There have been several crashes at the recreation area, which has attracted thousands of people over the Easter weekend, he said.

"We get some inexperienced riders out here who don't realize the dangers of riding on some of these dunes," Pulver said.

E-mail: jpage@desnews.com, syi@ksl.com, preavy@desnews.com, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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