'My son did not die in vain'
In a community as small as Carbon County, the accidental death of a young person echos in the collective consciousness. Loose talk and rumor can persist for weeks, turning a difficult situation into something suffocating for the victim's family. However, the gifts given by Nick Stamatakis and his family after the August 16 accident which took his life have provided meaning and context for an incident which would otherwise seem senseless.
"It was important to me and to Nick's family that he not die in vain," said Stamatakis' mother, Janene Wilson of Lawrence.
Stamatakis, who was 15 at the time of his accident, was LifeFlighted to the University of Utah Medical Center after it was made clear that he would not survive his injuries.
His kidneys and corneas were harvested and transplanted immediately, providing the gift of sight and extended life to multiple recipients. As Stamatakis was not 18 at the time of his death, his parents, Nick and Janene, made the decision for him based on a life that had been lived in a "giving and unselfish manner."
Wilson reported that several other organs were harvested from her son's body once at the U of U, however she did not know when or if they had been used as this article went to press.
For Stamatakis' parents, the notion that their son had behaved recklessly at the time of his death is hard to swallow. According to Wilson, it goes against his personality and is impossible to know.
Stamatakis was killed when his motorcycle collided with the trailer of a coal truck as he was on his way home from riding in the desert. After talking to eye witnesses, including a close friend of the family, Stamatakis' parents have learned that a car was traveling adjacent to the teenager's motorcycle on Lower Miller Creek Road, providing a visual block between him and the truck he collided with on Ridge Road.
"I would just like to put to rest all of the rumors that he was trying to jump over the semi-trailer or that he was trying to jump in between the trailers," said Nick's mother, "All eye witness accounts we have found have confirmed that he simply did not see the semi."
According to Wilson, the teen wore long sleeve shirts and riding pants whenever he road, and would wear riding boots if he was going out for more than a brief ride.
"He was wearing his helmet when he collided with the semitrailer," she said. "It has been reported that he wasn't wearing a helmet, but he was, he always did. It flew off after the impact and was found in some nearby bushes the day after the accident."