Teen’s organs save seven lives after tragic death

PORTLAND, Tennessee (WKRN) – A mother’s decision to donate her son’s organs after his tragic death has given seven others life.

Nick Townsend, a 17-year-old Portland High School senior, was critically injured in a mid-May crash the day before his high school graduation.

The teen was a passenger in a car with his girlfriend and her mother on Highway 52 at College Street when their car was hit by a suspected drunk driver. They were on their way home from volunteering at a Special Olympics event.

Townsend suffered serious head trauma and passed away two days later at a local hospital.

Nick Townsend
Nick Townsend

While there, Townsend’s family was approached about possibly donating his organs.

“Nick, being who he was, it was a no brainer. The kid was all about service. He was all about helping other people,” said his mother, Tanya Read.

“He wanted to join the military. He wanted to become a police officer and come back to Portland so he could protect his community. That was just Nick,” Read told News 2.

She has since learned that her son’s organs saved the lives of seven people. The recipients range in age from 6 months to 68 years old.

His kidneys, pancreas, liver, lungs and heart were all donated.

For Townsend’s grief-stricken family, the news has helped give his loss meaning while allowing their hearts to heal.

Read hopes to someday meet those whose lives were saved because of her son.

“I’m excited to meet them all, especially the kids” said Read. “Nick loved his brothers, he loved his sisters, he loved being a big brother, and the six-month-old little girl and the 16-year-old boy, I know they are going to do awesome things.”

Laura Beasley of Springfield, the suspected drunk driver accused of killing Townsend, was charged with vehicular homicide, two counts of vehicular assault, DUI with a child enhancement and reckless endangerment.

In court last Thursday, one of the troopers who worked the scene told the court she showed little to no emotion after the crash and only seemed upset when she couldn’t have a cigarette.

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