The death of 19-year-old Jacob Rauguth was met with shock and broken hearts around Saline.
Rauguth was killed July 2 when the Pontiac Grand Am he drove was t-boned by a speeding SUV that police believe blew through the four-way stop sign at Moon and Bemis Roads. The tragedy is even harder to swallow because the driver of the SUV, 35-year-old Matthew Stoy, was allegedly drunk – more than four times the legal limit – at the time of the crash.
He was the son of Darin and Lisa Rauguth and older brother to Joseph.
Rauguth’s girlfriend, Molly O’Sullivan, and friend, Ethan Suydam, were also injured in the crash. Both are recovering.
All three are graduates of Saline High School. All three worked together at Brecon Village in Saline.
Rauguth was a lanky, thin man who often wore wire-rim glasses. With his pronounced chin, he resembled famed Beatle, John Lennon. And like Lennon, he loved music.
“He was a brilliant guitar player, piano player. Everything,” O’Sullivan said.
He also enjoyed skateboarding, the outdoors and spending time with friends and family.
After graduating from Saline High School in 2015 he enrolled at Washtenaw Community College with plans to become a nurse. But he’d recently taken a break from school and was in the process of picking a new career path, according to friend Jordan Welch.
Welch, like so many in Saline, was rocked by the news of his friend. He said he was proud to be Rauguth’s friend.
“Jacob was passionate about many things like music, people in general, the planet, his love, and about being an undeniably good person. I really think he just wanted to be the best friend, boyfriend, brother, or man that he could be. He was the purest person I knew,” Welch said. “I just want people to know that Jacob was the best man he ever could be and I’m so freaking proud to call him my best friend.”
Rauguth, O’Sullivan and Suydam had completed their shift at Brecon Village only 30 minutes before the crash Sunday. Megg Geiger was Rauguth’s manager at Brecon Village, where Rauguth was a waiter.
“Jacob was crew member at Brecon Village where I had the privilege of being his manager and to get to know him as a warm and empathetic soul,” Geiger said said. “The care and consideration he displayed with the residents of Brecon Village was amazing. His loss is felt very deeply by myself and then rest of the Brecon crew.”
Friend Nellie McKeen said Rauguth was laid back and friendly.
“There was never a time when he wasn't making someone laugh. A very laid back and easy going guy, he brought calm to everyone around him. He was genuine and kind, and I know there won't be anyone like Jacob Rauguth,” McKeen said.
Welch said Rauguth “truly embodied” the “peace and love” spirit.
“I will forever look up to him and try to be like him,” Welch said.
Rauguth spent much of his free time hanging out with friends in parks, or in downtown Ann Arbor. More recently, he’d been spending time with his girlfriend, Molly O’Sullivan.
“She really was the light of his life. They truly were the best match I’ve seen with my own eyes,” Welch said. “I can’t fathom what it’s like for Molly, little Joe (his younger brother), and the rest of his family.”
O’Sullivan, like all those close to Rauguth, was struggling with the loss. Despite recovering from a broken jaw and collar bone and several other injuries, not to mention the emotional toll, O’Sullivan reached out to speak about Jacob.
“What do you say about a boy who meant the world to you but was taken in a blink of an eye. He was so kind and funny. No matter what he would always try and make me smile,” O’Sullivan said. “Jacob was blessed with such a kind soul. He knew how to love with no fear. He lived life fully. I miss him dearly. Everyone does.”
Services for Rauguth are at 11 a.m., Friday, July 7, at St. Andrew Catholic Church.