Manhattan Crash Victim's Last Good Deed

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Manhattan, KAN. (WIBW) -- The Manhattan community continues to mourn the loss of Brett Bolton, the 14-year-old boy killed in a tragic weekend car crash.

On Monday, Brett's father set up a cross at the site where his son lost his life on Marlatt Avenue, not far from the family's Manhattan home. On top of the cross rests a catcher's mitt. It's a tribute to the young athlete whose life was cut far too short.

Around 11 PM Friday night, Brett was headed home on Marlatt Avenue when Riley County Police say he lost control of his Pontiac Grand Prix. It hit a culvert, the impact flipping it over. The car burst into flames and officials say two other drivers stopped and managed to pull Brett out of the burning vehicle.

Brett was rushed to Mercy Regional Hospital with life threatening injuries. He was later transported to Via Christi Medical Center in Wichita, Kansas where he succumbed to his injuries Saturday- a day before his 15th birthday.

Brett, who would've have been a sophomore at Manhattan High, loved sports and his church youth group.

"He touched a lot of people's lives and we're very happy for that. He was just a really good kid. He loved his mom and dad and he knew that he was loved," his parents, Leigha and Tom Bolton, told 13 News.


"Brett Bolton was more than a football player, wrestler and baseball player. Brett Bolton was Manhattan. He was just so full of life and energy and if you would've known him, you would have loved him," added his coach, Robert Gonzales.

Brett's mother says she thought her son was sleeping when he decided to take the car out, ending in tragedy. But a small part of Brett still lives on. In their darkest moments, his parents decided to donate his organs to those who so desperately need them.

"His lungs were transplanted, his liver and both of his kidneys were transplanted to someone else. We knew that Brett would want us to do that and he was a healthy young man. We were hoping to enhance the life of someone else through Brett. He loved to help people. That was his last act, I guess we could say, of helping other people," his mother, Leigha, said.

"He loved to help and if that's what it takes for him to help, I'm very proud of that," his dad, Tom, added.

It's a touching end to a young life that will be remembered in the hearts of many.

"He was a really good kid and a great friend. He'd go out of his way for you. I'm at a loss for words right now except to say that he'll always be with us," longtime friend Zach Vesta said.

"I want to tell him that I love him and that he's my brother and he'll always be my brother for life. I'll miss him dearly. There's no doubt about that," added Kyle Westphal, another close friend.

And Brett's dad has a message for other teenage drivers:

"I encourage kids to pay attention to what they're doing when they're driving. Things can happen in a split second that changes not only their life but the lives of others," he said.

Riley County Police say the cause of the deadly crash remains under investigation.

Visitation for Brett Bolton will be held Tuesday 5:30 to 8 PM at Yorgensen, Meloan & Londeen Funeral Home in Manhattan.

Funeral Services will be held at 10:30 AM Wednesday at First Lutheran Church on Poyntz in Manhattan.