Two teenage boys are dead and a 12-year-old girl is battling critical injuries after a two car crash in Bradenton.
The crash occurred around 7:30 on Saturday night on SR-64 near Pope Road.
According to Florida Highway Patrol, 17-year-old Chase Coyner was driving a 2012 Honda Accord west on SR-64. He tried to make a left turn onto Pope Road.
He was driving his friend, 15-year-old Matthew Powers, to the homecoming dance at their school, Lakewood Ranch High School. His parents tell us Chase was not staying at the dance because it was his father’s birthday and he wanted to celebrate it with him.
The official report says Chase did not see a Dodge Ram heading east on SR-64. He drove into the vehicle’s path. The front of the Dodge hit the right side of the Accord.
Chase and Matthew were pronounced dead at the scene.
Bridgette Bach, who met Chase in math class at school, says he had the best smile and he always made her smile.
“He was like the funniest person I have ever met,” she tells us. “Even in the worst situations, you would be having the worst day and he can make you happy. He can make you feel something.”
Chase had dreams of becoming a pilot. Matthew played the clarinet in the high school band.
A memorial now sits at the crash site near the intersection of State Road 64 and Pope Road. News Channel 8 spoke to multiple people there who worry about the safety of that intersection. They mentioned heavy traffic and blind spots and they want to see a change to prevent other tragedies.
The 39-year-old man driving the Dodge suffered minor injuries. His passenger, a 12-year-old girl, is at John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital with critical injuries.