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17-year-old driver and his 15-year-old passenger killed in crash in Bradenton

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BRADENTON, FL (WWSB) - Two teens are dead after a serious crash in Bradenton Saturday night. 

It happened around 7:30pm at SR 64 and Greyhawk Blvd/Pope Road and closed all lanes while the Florida Highway Patrol investigated.

Troopers say Chase Coyner, 17, was driving a Honda Accord west on SR 64 in the left turn lane when, not seeing the other vehicle, he turned left into the path of a Dodge Ram 2500 driven by Dallas Gross, 39, of Lake Placid, which was traveling east on SR 64. The Ram hit the Accord on its right side.

Coyner and his passenger, 15-year-old Matthew Powers, were killed. Dallas Gross suffered minor injuries but his passenger, 12-year-old Ayla Gross, was critically injured.

Coyner attended Lakewood Ranch High School, as did Powers, who was a sophomore and played the clarinet. Powers' band teacher posted a touching tribute on Facebook:

Matt Powers.png

It reads:

Hello to all of you in Mustang Bandland. I apologize for the late post. It is with a very heavy heart and with the blessing of the family that I must announce the passing of Sophomore Clarinet Matt Powers. His life was taken in an automobile accident on SR 64 and Pope earlier this evening that also involved another as of yet unidentified teenager. I do not know the condition of that young person.

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.

I Love You All; Students, Parents, and Alumni. Our Band Family is special, it is real and it is yours. There is no way to explain the feelings that will rush over us and through YOU in the coming days. There will be counselors and support structures in place when we get to school Monday to assist with our grief. The Band Room will be open to you. It is your home and a place where you can be safe.

The Mustang Band Family will be strong for the Powers family. We will support them and love them, and when the time comes, we will take part in his memorial. Please stay connected as those details become available. Please join in a collective prayer for comfort and peace. Please hold on to each other tighter than ever because Matt Powers would want that. He loved being a Mustang Band Kid!

If you need me or anything, contact me. I am staying connected to Mr. Powers and am taking his lead throughout the coming days. Our outward actions will take place accordingly.

Sincerely Yours,

Mr. Lambert

In a second post shared Sunday, Lambert writes:

Hello Mustangs

I am so sorry. Matt’s loss is still so fresh, raw and painful. We need to be together to begin the healing process. Our band family is a rock! We need to be there for the Powers family. I look forward to seeing all of you tomorrow. Mrs. Greene and I, Principal Little and his team, and vast counseling resources will be there for you!

I’m sending out the week in bullet points knowing that there are discussions to be had, and many, many, many feelings to consider. We will talk and then I will publish a full Monday music notes tomorrow evening.

As you can imagine, there has not been a whole lot of sleep and with prior events of the week some scary moments. Turn to your family and in times of turmoil, love them even more. I’m glad I was able to today. I have to be honest and admit that I wasn’t positive I would be able to just a few short days ago. My doctor had some tough talk for me. Thanks for your support and performances Friday Alumni and current MMB!

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