MIDWEST CITY — The death of a Midwest City High School senior last week, while tragic, also saved lives.
Six of Kittrick Johnson Jr.'s organs were given to people in need of lifesaving transplants, said Phil Van Stavern, the chief operating officer for LifeShare. The nonprofit recovers organs and tissue for transplantation in Oklahoma and maintains the state's donor registry.
Johnson, 17, of Oklahoma City, was riding a motorcycle to school when he collided Nov. 2 with a car that turned left in front of him on NE 10 near Lee Drive, police said. Johnson wore a helmet and safety gear, but he and his motorcycle caught fire, and he suffered third-degree burns over half his body, police said.
He died Saturday.
A candlelight vigil Wednesday at 9221 NE 10 was organized to help students and family members grieve and to raise awareness for organ donation, said Christina Kirk, a family attorney.
“Kit was a kind, loving young man who would do anything he could to help someone else out. It seems only natural to allow him to continue that legacy in death,” Kittrick Johnson Sr. said in a statement.
Johnson's heart was placed with an Oklahoma man, 61; his lung with a Missouri woman, 23; his liver with an Oklahoma woman, 63; his pancreas with an Oklahoma man, 45; and his kidneys with men in Oklahoma and Texas, ages 65 and 39, Van Stavern said.
Van Stavern added the donation of six organs was “remarkable.”
“I would say our typical organ donor, we recover two to three organs from,” he said. “When you recover six or seven, it's a remarkable thing, and a tremendous number of people have been helped.”
Johnson's young age and the nature of his injuries contributed to the ability to make more donations, Van Stavern said.
Nationally, 116,000 people are waiting for transplants, he said, and about 900 people need the lifesaving procedures in Oklahoma.
The driver of the car involved in the accident, James Griffiths, 63, of Midwest City, made an improper left turn in front of the motorcycle, police said. The Oklahoma County district attorney declined to file a homicide charge, an official in the office said. Griffiths could be cited for traffic violations, police said.