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In memoriam: AJ Ryan


by Ashley Edmonds
Staff Writer

Friends and family of a Cuesta College student who was struck and killed by a vehicle earlier this month plan to honor him with a display of his artwork and a memorial.

Austin Joseph Ryan, 23, or San Luis Obispo, who had periodically attended classes at Cuesta, was known as a talented artist.

“It’s s cool seeing his passion lead to such amazing creations,” said Drew Walworth, a friend of Ryan’s, “He painted an entire room in our house a few years ago, definitely not what that landlord had in mind when we said we were ‘repainting’, but even she couldn’t help but be in awe of his work”.

Ryan, also known as AJ, was hit by an oncoming car about 12:35 a.m., Feb. 2, on West Foothill Boulevard, authorities said.

Witnesses say they saw “a distraught male running from his residence on O’Connor Way” and hat he then reportedly “stepped in front of and was struck by an oncoming southbound vehicle on West Foothill Boulevard,” Sheriff’s Sgt. A. Perry stated in a press release.

Ryan was pronounced dead at the scene, Perry said.

Ryan’s mother, Caroline Ryan, told KSBY her son was high on nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, when he stepped in front of the car. The motorist, a 43-year-old Los Osos woman, is not suspected of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, Perry said.

Toxicology reports for Ryan are pending, authorities said.

Nautical Bean, a coffee shop located at 11560 Los Osos Valley Road will be showcasing his artwork beginning March 1. The owner, Brett Jones, said he has been in contact with the Ryan family and plans to hold a memorial at the coffee shop in early March.

Friends and family are remembering Ryan by posting their favorite memories and pictures of him on his Facebook wall.

Ryan had previously captioned an Instagram post with his artwork, “it’s not what you make it’s how you make people feel.”