BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — At the time, 17-year-old Leeza Kalish says she was holding 16-year-old Ryan Fischer’s hand. The young couple walked down Krueger road in Wheatfield, one snowy November night in 2014. Now for the first time Kalish is speaking out, remembering her best friend.
“The man who did this to Ryan didn’t just take Ryan’s life he took his mother’s his father’s his siblings his step mother’s he took my life, so many people around us caved after Ryan passed away,” Kalish said.
Kalish says the two dated when he was a junior and she was a senior at North Tonawanda High School. He had her back, she had his.
“We hung out pretty much everyday whenever we could unless he was working or I was working,” Kalish said.
“He was caring he always wore his heart on his shoulder,” Kalish said, holding back tears. “I think it was because he was brought up the right way, and wasn’t umm, I’m sorry.”
His mother told us the same thing about her 16-year-old son two years ago after the accident in Wheatfield.
“He had told her she had to stay on the inside so he could protect her that was the kind of child that he was,” said Lisa Fischer in 2014.
A driver hit Ryan and kept on going. It took more than a year to arrest 40-year-old Anthony DiFilippo. Last week he pleaded guilty to attempting to leave the scene. He was originally charged with leaving the scene, texting while driving and tampering with psychical evidence.
“I don’t know how you can just hit someone, the noise that it made, you’re not just not realizing that it’s complete carelessness,” Kalish said.
Now all Kalish holds onto are memories. She says Ryan wanted to be an electrician.
“He could re-do wiring panels for lights. He would always send me pictures of what he was doing at BOCES and tell me he was the first one done and say he was really bored,” Kalish said. “He loved to go hunting too and actually shot his first deer just a few weeks before the accident.”
Kalish says she started going down a bad path but recently got her strength back. Her best friend isn’t psychically with her but she feels his spirit guiding her to a better place.
“I realized Ryan doesn’t want me to dwell on the pain or negativity, he wants me to grow and have a better future than what would have happened if I kept going down the path I was going down.”
Kalish says she will be at the driver’s sentencing in August. She wants him to apologize to Ryan’s family.