Family friends remember boy killed in ATV accident as easygoing

by: Linzi Sheldon Updated:

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SALISBURY, N.C. - A Salisbury family is grieving after their 7-year-old son was killed in an ATV accident outside their home on Thursday.

On Friday, family friends said the boy's father, Andy Rueger, is a crew member for NASCAR driver Ryan Newman.

They said 7-year-old Bryce Rueger used to ride around the yard all the time on the family's ATV, often with his father. They said he was familiar with the machine and that Rueger stressed safety with his children.

But Thursday afternoon at the home on Country Hill Drive, something went wrong.

They said Bryce was driving and his 11-year-old cousin was in the passenger seat. Investigators said the two boys were riding in a blue Arctic Cat 550 ATV most of the day.

The Rowan County Sheriff's Office said the ATV came around the left side of the house at a high speed. When Bryce tried to turn, the ATV did a complete roll over, killing him and seriously injuring his cousin.

Family friends said the 11-year-old was believed to have a broken leg. The Rowan County Sheriff's Office said he was airlifted to Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem.

Andy Rueger works as the gas man for Newman, and the NASCAR driver said Friday that they're working on setting up a memorial fund.

Family friends describe the little boy as easygoing and always smiling.

The Rev. Johnny Cozart, the pastor at the Ruegers' church, St. Mark's Lutheran in Mooresville, said by phone, "We're devastated to hear that. We've been praying for them and continuing to think of them."