Forest Hills student dies after hit by vehicle

Lucas VanSprange (Family photo)


CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Family members, and those in the a Forest Hills School District are devastated Friday night, trying to make sense of the tragic death of 15-year- old Lucas VanSprange.

The freshman at Forest Hills Central High School was critically injured after he was hit by a vehicle Friday morning, while attempting to cross Cascade Road in Cascade Township around 7:15 a.m.

By 4 p.m., a sign that read “Rest in Peace Lucas” with hand drawn red hearts was in the ground near where VanSprange was hit.

The sign was made and installed by Forest Hills Central High School junior Peyton Dixon and senior Maggie Brown.  Both are members of the dance team, who didn’t know VanSprange but saw the impact his loss had made.

They said you could feel the loss in the hallways of FHCHS soon as the announcement was made that VanSprange had died.

Emergency crews on scene where a Forest Hills Central student was hit by a SUV on Cascade Road. (Jan. 16, 2015)
Emergency crews on scene where a Forest Hills Central student was hit by a SUV on Cascade Road. (Jan. 16, 2015)

“It was just so like heart aching to think about that, and just imagine that happening to someone it was terrible,” said Brown.

“You would never think getting out of bed in the morning, like that this would happen to someone that you know,” added Dixon.

VanSprange was described to 24 Hour News 8 as many things, well liked, always wearing a big smile, and a “sweet, strong, passionate, incredible intelligent son.”

VanSprange’s family didn’t want to talk on camera about their boy, or their loss.  Off camera, an aunt, literally shaking with grief, said the family was overwhelmed with grief. VanSprange was the oldest of five.

She also said that there was a terrible sense of déjà vu Friday morning, about four years ago VanSprange’s family got another terrible morning phone call, that time to say he had a serious brain infection and may not survive.

But he survived and thrived, even deciding he wanted to become a doctor because of that experience.

She also said they appreciated all the thoughts and prayers they had received, and that the entire family worried about the other kids at the morning bus stop who may have seen the tragedy unfold.

Undersheriff Jon Hess told 24 Hour News 8 that the bus wasn’t at the stop, but a bit down the road, when the accident happened.  He said he didn’t believe any of the kids on the bus witnessed it, but kids waiting at the bus stop did.

Grief counselors were available on the campuses where VanSprange was a student over the years, and counselors were available upon request district wide for any kids who needed help.

Forest Hills Superintendent Dan Behm had a difficult time holding back his own emotion as he talked about the freshman.

“He was just trying to get to school,” he said while choking back tears.  “And just – there’s not much more we can do but offer our prayers and support to the family and all the friends at this time.