Man tried to help teen killed in US-131 crash: ‘We did everything we could’

Posted at 9:21 PM, Aug 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-16 21:21:41-04

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- A teenager died and several others were injured after a crash along northbound US-131 near West River Drive in Plainfield Township Wednesday night.

The three-car crash killed 14-year-old Andy Larson, who was riding in a van with his family.  A man who stopped to try to help at the crash scene says he couldn't do enough to save the boy, but came away from the incident with a new perspective on his own life.

Ryan Lanting, a six-year Army combat lifesaver, witnessed the crash on his way home from work.

"For some reason it was just like, you’ve gotta pull over because something’s not right, you know? So I was not expecting to walk up on anything like that," Lanting said.

Lanting checked the first two cars involved in the crash and found no one with life-threatening injuries. Then he ran down a hill to check on the third vehicle, a banged-up minivan.

Larson was in that vehicle unresponsive.  Lanting says he and Larson's father immediately began CPR.

"It was very hectic for what seemed like eternity but was probably only about 10 minutes before the rescue team got there," Lanting said. "We did everything we could and we fought and we fought and we fought and it was uh, it was rough. It was really rough."

In the end, Lanting and paramedics couldn't save Larson, who was pronounced dead at the scene. The loss of young life was a crushing blow, even for a trained professional.  Lanting recently became a new father himself.

"I drove down to the Comstock Park exit and pulled off and into the carpool there and called my fiancé bawling," Lanting said. "I was just like, hug our baby and just be thankful for everything that we have right now because I just watched somebody’s world completely flip upside down in a matter of seconds."

Lanting said that's something he hopes everyone keeps in mind tonight and wanted to add there were a few more bystanders who also jumped into action Wednesday night as well.

Larson was getting ready to start school at the West Michigan Aviation Academy next week and was already involved in orientation.

The crash remains under investigation.