Students stand together, strong as tragedy rocks LHS
By LPR Staff
Instead of sharing tales of their Halloween pranks on Thursday morning, the students of Lockhart High School were sharing something else – their grief, suffering and confusion over the life of a classmate clipped short too soon.
Beginning in groups of one or two, and slowly expanding to a fellowship of more than 150, st
udents, teachers and counselors gathered around the flagpole on the front lawn of LHS on Thursday morning to pay tribute to, and to remember John Colton “Colt” Miranda – a junior, an athlete and a friend.
Miranda was killed on Wednesday, Oct. 31 when his Ford Ranger was involved in a head-on collision with a Chevrolet Suburban on Highway 183 north of Lockhart. Miranda likely died instantly in the crash, and another driver, Joseph Dean Coonrod, 48, of the North Richland Hills, was transported from the scene to Brackenridge Hospital via StarFlight.
Coonrod was in the area working with Lambry Construction, one of the companies responsible for the current construction of State Highway 130. The initial investigation by the Lockhart Police Department revealed that Miranda may have veered into oncoming traffic, and though he attempted to correct his course, Coonrod swerved to avoid him, ultimately resulting in the crash.
The accident, which happened just after 4 p.m., sent shockwaves through the community which were evident almost immediately, and which continued to echo through the weekend.
Instead of celebrating Halloween on Wednesday night, dozens of students gathered at the American Legion Post 41 Hall, near the accident scene, to mourn and remember their friend. Many stayed late into the evening, hardly speaking – only weeping, hugging one another and praying for peace, asking for answers that wouldn”t come.
They gathered again on Thursday morning, many rising well before the sun, to share the pain of their loss and more important, their memories and fondness for a fallen classmate, fellow athlete and friend.
Miranda was remembered as fun-loving and happy, a jokester with a heart of gold, a passion for soccer, and an unshakable faith.
“He wore his faith on his sleeve,” one coach remembered. “He wasn”t afraid of it, and he wasn”t afraid to talk about it.”
It is that faith, Principal Larry Ramirez suggested in a memorandum released on Friday, that will pull Miranda”s family, friends and classmates through this time of mourning and loss.
Some, though, attempted to find comfort in laughing through their tears.
“We were in class yesterday,” a classmate recalled, speaking softly through her tears. She told of joking and laughing, and a class, including Miranda, united in good-natured fun with a substitute teacher.
“I just can”t believe that…”
No student seemed able to make sense of it all.
Lockhart High School has suffered immense tragedy in the last two months. Earlier in the week, before Miranda”s death, a well-liked counselor succumbed to cancer. In the final weeks of her illness, the students were already struggling to make sense of the death of Jacob Parrish, another popular student and a 2007 graduate, who died in a car accident in rural Caldwell County in September.
In the days following the accident, and likely weeks and months to come, the tragedy has hung like a cloud over even the most joyous of events at LHS. The Lions” final home game against the New Braunfels Unicorns, the Varsity football team dedicated the game to Miranda, and shared in a moment of silence in his memory. While the community gathered at his funeral service, many of Miranda”s friends paid tribute to him in sport, wearing black jersey bands bearing his name and soccer jersey number, 11, while running to a tenth regional cross country championship. The Speech and Drama department has dedicated their light-hearted fall production, “Shorts: A Brief Event,” to Miranda, with a simple note on the program stating: ” His battles are won. He”s won his war. Make sure Heaven”s Table has room for one more!”
Most certainly, it does.
Editor”s note: Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with Colt”s parents, Johnny and Gwynda Miranda, and with his sister, Shelby. For those wishing to contribute, a memorial fund in Colt”s name has been opened at American National Bank. -kb