16-year-old best man dies on the way to wedding


SALTLICK TOWNSHIP, Pa. (KDKA) — A community is mourning a 16-year-old boy who died in a crash over the weekend in Fayette County.  

The crash happened on Indian Creek Valley Road in Saltlick Township on Saturday, and the Fayette County coroner identified the victim as Tyler Nicholson.  

State police say 19-year-old Ryan Leighty was driving a Ford Mustang with Nicholson as his passenger when their car hit another vehicle turning onto Calvary Church Road. Nicholson was pronounced dead at the scene.  

The coroner said neither teen was wearing a seatbelt and the vehicle did not have an airbag system.  

Tyler Nicholson, 16, died in a crash in Fayette County on Aug. 13, 2022. KDKA

Nicholson’s family members told KDKA-TV on Monday that Leighty was driving to his wedding when the crash happened. Nicholson was supposed to be the best man.  

“He went to the car wash to get the car washed to take pictures after the wedding,” said Shelby Leighty, Nicholson’s girlfriend.  

A memorial at the crash scene has flowers, balloons and pictures of Nicholson. Some friends gathered around the memorial on Monday afternoon.  

“He was only 16 years old. It wasn’t his time, but God wanted it to be and needed him up there more than we needed him down here,” Shelby Leighty said.  

“(Nicholson) was very, very compassionate for other people,” said Caleb Russell, Nicholson’s friend. 

Many said they’re still in shock by what happened. 

“Being around a good group of friends that loved him just as much as I did, talking about the good times really helps,” Shelby Leighty said.  

“He knows we love him, and I think he loves us. We sat up here for five hours yesterday just talking about him. We laughed, we giggled talking about all the dumb stuff we all used to do with them,” Russell said on Monday.  

“I love him, and I’ll miss him forever,” Shelby Leighty said.  

Police said Ryan Leighty was flown to a local hospital the day of the crash. Friends told KDKA-TV that he’s recovering. 

The driver of the other vehicle was taken to a local hospital by ambulance. There’s no update on his condition.  

State police said the investigation is ongoing. So far, no charges have been filed.  

Funeral arrangements for Nicholson are being handled by Vito Martucci Funeral Home in Connellsville.  

Erika Stanish

Erika is an award-winning investigative journalist who joined KDKA in October of 2021. She is thrilled to be back in her hometown and reporting for the station she grew up watching!