A two-vehicle crash Thursday afternoon in Oak Park Heights has claimed the life of a teenage motorcyclist a day before he was to graduate from high school.
Declan Raverty, 17, was driving with a passenger when the fatal crash occurred about 4:40 p.m. on Hwy. 95 near the Sunnyside Marina, the State Patrol said.
Raverty was a senior at Roseville Area High School. School officials shared the news with his classmates during graduation practice Friday morning ahead of commencement at Roy Wilkins Auditorium on Friday night.
“It was a somber and quiet event,” said district spokeswoman Carrie Ardito.
Raverty had been elected into the 2016 Homecoming Royalty Court. He had positive relationships with students as well as staff, Principal Jenny Loeck said.
“Declan was a wonderful student,” she said. “He brought a tremendous amount of energy and a bright personality to our school community. He will be missed by all.”
Raverty, who was known by many as “Duck,” played football until his senior year and made a lasting impression on people. He wore kilts to school, loved the outdoors and working in the wood shop, and was the type of person who would drop what he was doing if he saw someone that needed help, said Jeff Davies, a wood shop instructor and one of Raverty’s football coaches.
“Duck always seemed to know his ‘path’ and it didn’t matter to him what others thought if he knew it was the right thing,” Davies said. “I was so proud of him and how much he had grown and matured as a person in the last four years.”
After graduation, Raverty was looking forward to moving to Iowa to start work in road construction, Davies said.
According to the State Patrol, Raverty was headed north on Hwy. 95 when he collided with a Cadillac Escalade. The Escalade had pulled out of the Sunnyside Marina and crossed the northbound lane while attempting a left turn when the crash occurred.
Raverty was taken to Regions Hospital, where he died. He was wearing a helmet, the patrol said.
A passenger on his bike, Katie Pagel, 20, of Roseville, was taken to Regions with noncritical injuries. The driver of the Escalade, Douglas Hesley, 73, of Stillwater, was not hurt, the patrol said. The crash is under investigation.