The family of a father-of-one killed in an A9 crash have paid tribute to the “happy-go-lucky young man.”
Ryan Smith, 25, from Alness, also known as Ryan MacDonald, was driving a grey Peugeot 208 when he collided with a grey Ford Edge near his hometown on Friday.
The head-on collision occurred near Alness point around 5.10pm leaving the young dad with fatal injuries.
His father Dougie Smith, 61, was at home when he was received the tragic news from Ryan’s mum Lynn.
As his family come to terms with their devastating loss, Mr Smith – who lives in Invergordon with his partner Shonah Shearer, 57 – spoke of their heartbreak at a life ‘taken away so soon”.
Mr Smith said: “He was a happy-go-lucky young man. He was full of banter.
“He had a good sense of humour, he was a bit of a joker when he used to go out. He takes it off my grandfather. My grandfather used to work in the mines and they used to call him the joker.
“He was a very happy young man, especially seeing his grandparents. He was very much a family man.”
Ms Shearer expressed her thanks for “all the love and support” they had received.
She added: “It’s the not knowing, it’s really difficult. It’s not fair he was taken away so soon. So young and taken away just liked that. He is going to be very sorely missed.
”We really appreciate all the love and support we have had from friends and family. Our family and work colleagues, they have been very supportive, calling and visiting us.
“I think it’s hard at any time of year but with it coming up for Christmas, it’s always worse around Christmas time.”
Sympathies have been pouring in across social media paying tribute to “one of the best most loving caring person you could meet.”
His heartbroken friend Stewart Nicol said: “Worst thing I have been old in years. Little cousin best friend and brother RIP.
“I will miss you so much. Gonna miss you more than words can describe I love you Ryan MacDonald RIP.”
The male and female occupants of the Ford sustained minor injuries as police closed the Inverness to Thurso road for several hours to allow investigations to get underway.
Sergeant Alan Henderson of the Road Policing Unit in Dingwall said: “Our thoughts remain with Mr Smith’s family and friends.
“Our investigation is ongoing to establish the full circumstances of this tragic incident and we would urge anyone who has information but has not yet spoken to an officer to come forward.
“We are grateful to everyone who has assisted with our inquiries so far.”