GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)- Ryan Soukup is looking to do good in honor of his late wife, Carli Brewer Soukup. She was killed in a hit-and-run on Sulphur Springs Road in the Berea area while biking Sunday.
“She was just…the most loving, beaming girl I’ve ever met,” Soukup said.
After growing up in Florida, Carli Brewer Soukup made Greenville her home. She found a village of friends, community with her elementary school students — her “Brew Crew” called them, and she found love with Ryan Soukup. They married six months ago. The brew crew became the “Soukrew.”
“I haven’t met too many people that were as wonderful and enjoyable and hassle-free as Carli,” her husband said.
Carli and Ryan Soukup routinely biked the Swamp Rabbit Trail, but Sunday, when she never caught up to him, he began to fear the worst.
“I kept going, kept going…kind of speeding up because I’m more and more worried,” he said.
That’s when he saw the blinking lights of a fire truck. About an hour earlier, his wife had been struck.
“The first couple days were rough,” he said.
He said friends, family, and the Greenville County School District, rallied to support him.
“I got one message that was powerful and got me to get up…it was from the counselor at Mitchell Road Elementary,” he said.
He, along with other family members and students were invited to grief counseling at the school the day after the crash.
“Lots of good stories, but one of them stuck, and that’s why I’m here doing this and not sitting in a corner crying somewhere,” he said.
It was a note, written by one of Carli Soukup’s fifth graders. It reads, “When I heard the news about you, I wanted to scream. If you have taught me anything most in life, it is when bad things come, you need to find all of the good things and try to get over it.”
“I immediately kind of broke down. I mean I was already breaking down, but I broke down more and that was like a trigger for me,” he said.
It inspired him to turn tragedy into action. He decided to raise money to improve safety on the Swamp Rabbit Trail and to support the mental health counseling at Greenville County Schools that supported him in his moment of need.
“It’s like the stars are aligning…whether it’s Carli or God, I don’t know…but it’s nice. It’s powerful.”
You can learn more about Carli Soukup’s legacy and how to donate here.
South Carolina Highway Patrol is looking for suspect Mantavious McMorris in connection to the hit-and-run.
Correction: Photos are attributed to Mathew Pautz in the video version of the story– the correct spelling is Matthew Pautz