Community ensures young crash victims won't be forgotten

Matthew Powers' heart shined on the baseball diamond. 

"He was never the biggest, the fastest, the best kid out there. His unique thing with baseball -- or just about everything he did -- was his attitude, his energy and his hustle," said his dad. 

Dan Powers watched from the bleachers as his son grew into a true athlete playing baseball at Lakewood Ranch Park. 

"He loved baseball," continued Powers. 

Matthew's life was cut short at 15 years old.  Nearly one year ago, he asked his friend, 17 year old Chase Coyner, for a ride to homecoming. 

As Coyner turned onto Pope Road from State Road 64, a car hit them. Both died. 

A year later came a bittersweet moment for Matthew's family.  County commissioners renamed the baseball field in Matthew's name. 

Field 1 will now be called the Matthew Ryan Powers Memorial Field. 

"It makes us happy, sad. Very happy. Blown away that the Lakewood Ranch Little League would put this into action that the county would approve it," said Powers. 

Powers said the community's support has played an important role in helping both families heal. 

"I can't say enough about the community and what they've done. Rallied around us and both the Coyner families," he said. 

Lakewood Ranch High School plans to name a portrait studio for Chase Coyner. Coyner excelled at photography, was a member of JROTC, and planned on becoming a fighter pilot. 

A memorial walk, honoring all students lost before graduation, will also be built. 

For now, it's a moment to focus and remember times before their loss. 

"I don't know how we would have done it without them," said Powers. 

Powers continues his mission, working to make sure another life is never lost on State Road 64. The FDOT did hear his concerns and moved up a roundabout project slated for State Road 64 and Pope Road, which will now start in the spring.