Prospect teen dies, a community grieves

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PROSPECT — 17-year-old Ryan Eustace, who sustained a critical head injury in a single-vehicle accident earlier this week, died Thursday afternoon, a spokesperson for Saint Mary’s Hospital confirmed Friday.

The incident occurred just before 10:30 p.m. Monday. Police said Eustace was riding on top of a car and fell when the car was moving forward; police said more details will be disclosed as the investigation progresses.

Eustace’s twin brother Sean was a passenger in the car at the time, and Michael Tully, 17, was driving. Neither was injured. State police spokesman Lieut. Paul Vance said the two must be cleared by a doctor before questioning.

Sources said Eustace had been on life support and in critical condition at Saint Mary’s, and a hospital spokesperson said he “expired” Thursday, noting the term is preferred by hospital staff given the circumstances of his death.

About 70 people—both friends of Eustace and staff from the Region 16 school system—gathered at the Prospect Fire Department Thursday afternoon to comfort one another and share stories from Eustace’s life.

Woodland Regional High School Principal Dr. Arnold Frank addressed the group, saying, “There are no words to ease the pain. There are no words to describe how I feel. … Sometimes life doesn’t make sense and bad things happen to great people.”

WRHS will likely be open next week to provide guidance counselors and grief support. Students should receive letters with details soon.

Kyle Brennan contributed reporting from Prospect.