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Lakewood Ranch High School mourns loss of two students in crash

Roadside memorial remembers lives of young Lakewood Ranch students lost in crash

Two teenage boys were killed in a two-vehicle crash on State Road 64 on Saturday night, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
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Two teenage boys were killed in a two-vehicle crash on State Road 64 on Saturday night, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

After two Lakewood Ranch High School students were killed in a crash, the school is offering resources to help grieving students and staff.

A crisis team and counselor are at the school Monday in the aftermath of the sudden loss of Chase Coyner, 17, and 15-year-old Matthew Powers in a crash Saturday night on State Road 64 at Pope Road. They will be available throughout the day to meet with students and staff, said School District of Manatee County spokesman Mike Barber.

Barber did not immediately know Monday morning if any memorials or special events were being held at Lakewood Ranch High School for Coyner, who was a senior, and Powers, a sophomore. Media, he said, would not allowed on campus Monday.

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Chase Coyner, 17, and Matthew Powers, 15, died in a crash Saturday on State Road 64 in Manatee County. Spectrum Bay News 9

Saturday night was the high school’s homecoming dance.

At a memorial set up for the two students near the site of the crash, friends gathered to remember the young lives lost.

J.D. Brown told Spectrum Bay News 9 Coyner was a close friend, remembering him as witty and smart. Brown said Coyner wanted to be a pilot and liked photography.

Powers was a sophomore who played clarinet in the high school’s band.

On a Facebook page for the band, director Ron Lambert wrote a touching tribute to Powers. He wrote Sunday the band will be participating in Powers’ memorial when the time comes.

“I am humbled and honored that the family chose us to respect his memory. I am humbled and honored to have spent countless days and hours watching Matt grow (not only as a musician but as a young man and in height - about 6 inches in a year!). I am humbled and honored because his dad told me tonight that band was the one thing that truly made Matt happy,” Lambert wrote.

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According to the Florida Highway Patrol crash report, Coyner was driving a 2012 Honda Accord west on State Road 64 around 7:38 p.m. Saturday when he tried to turn left onto Pope Road. Troopers wrote he did not see an oncoming 2007 Dodge Ram and turned in front of the truck.

The driver of the truck, a 39-year-old Lake Placid man, suffered minor injuries. His passenger, a 12-year-old girl, was critically injured in the crash and was taken to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital to be treated, according to FHP. They were not wearing seat belts.

Jacki Kelsch started Handy Hands Reflections, a busy non-profit, to help those who have lost loved ones.

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