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Teen's death sheds light on organ donation after six receive transplants

by Juliana Keeping Modified: November 8, 2012 at 9:03 pm •  Published: November 9, 2012
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/articleid/3726813/1/pictures/1879750">Photo - Teri Tharp, left, and Terrance Johnson hold candles during a candlelight vigil for Kittrick Johnson Jr., who died after being in a motorcycle accident on the way to school, in Midwest City, Okla., Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012. Tharp is Kittrick Johnson's aunt, and Terrance Johnson is a lifelong friend. Kittrick Johnson's family is donating his organs to be transplanted and used the vigil to raise awareness of organ donation as well as remembering Johnson. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
Teri Tharp, left, and Terrance Johnson hold candles during a candlelight vigil for Kittrick Johnson Jr., who died after being in a motorcycle accident on the way to school, in Midwest City, Okla., Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012. Tharp is Kittrick Johnson's aunt, and Terrance Johnson is a lifelong friend. Kittrick Johnson's family is donating his organs to be transplanted and used the vigil to raise awareness of organ donation as well as remembering Johnson. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

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.

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by Juliana Keeping
Enterprise Reporter
Juliana Keeping is on the enterprise reporting team for The Oklahoman and NewsOK.com. Keeping joined the staff of The Oklahoman in 2012. Prior to that time, she worked in the Chicago media at the SouthtownStar, winning a Peter Lisagor Award...
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