Teacher Killed by Vehicle in School Parking Lot

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On Tuesday, February 20, 2024, a Clarksburg, West Virginia teacher and coach died in the school’s parking lot when he was hit by a vehicle. 

Ryan Lantz, a dedicated educator and integral part of the community, was struck by a vehicle as students were arriving for the day.

The incident occurred around 7:30 am. at Liberty High School. Preliminary reports suggest that the driver of the vehicle, a student, was blinded by the sunlight, leading to the accident. The Harrison County Sheriff’s Department, under the guidance of Sheriff Robert Matheny, has classified the incident as “tragic but accidental,” emphasizing the unforeseen nature of the circumstances that led to Lantz’s untimely death.

According to local sources, Lantz was an alumnus of Liberty High School, where he excelled in two sports as a student before returning as a coach. He dedicated a decade to teaching at the school, most recently in a journalism role. Lantz held the position of boys’ varsity basketball coach for four years until stepping down in 2021, after which he took on roles as the freshman team coach and varsity assistant at Robert C. Byrd High School, also in Clarksburg. He was also known to have devoted his summers to serving at a church camp.

His loss has sent shockwaves through the community, with the Harrison County School District expressing deep sorrow over the passing of a “respected teacher” in a heartfelt statement. The district highlighted the profound impact of the incident on the school community, extending thoughts to the families affected during this challenging time. In a show of respect and mourning, all extracurricular activities at Liberty High School and scheduled board of education meetings were canceled.

A GoFundMe campaign launched by Chelsea Holyfield, Lantz’s niece, has raised over $15,000, reflecting the community’s desire to honor his memory and comfort his family. “His absence will be deeply felt by all who were fortunate enough to know him, or who experienced his guitar playing and sermons by the campfire at Church Camp,” Holyfield shared on the fundraising page. “A wonderful father, husband, grandfather, son, brother, uncle, coach, pastor, teacher, and disciple of Christ,” she added.

Before releasing any additional information to the public, authorities were taking steps to inform all relatives and arrange for counseling services for students and faculty at both Liberty and Robert C. Byrd High Schools, where he had served as a coach.

Ryan Lantz’s contribution to Liberty High School and the broader Clarksburg community will be remembered as a beacon of dedication, love, and unwavering faith, even as the school navigates through the profound tragedy of his loss.

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