Perry coach dies in Monday crash

By Craig Kelly -

Herb Lane

Herb Lane

LIMA — A two-vehicle crash Monday afternoon claimed the life of a man described as a “great community member” in Perry Township.

Herb Lane Jr., 44, the head football coach and an assistant basketball coach at Perry High School, was pronounced dead at St. Rita’s Medical Center after the crash, which took place at 5:31 p.m. on McClain Road.

According to the Allen County Sheriff’s Office, Lane was traveling north over the Interstate 75 overpass when his vehicle struck a bridge abutment, causing the vehicle to go left of the center line and striking a southbound vehicle head-on before striking the bridge a second time. Both Lane and the other vehicle, driven by Benjamin Hefner Jr., 24, came to a stop in the northbound lane of McClain Road.

Both Perry Township and Shawnee Township Fire Departments responded to the scene. Both vehicles sustained sufficient damage to where both Lane and Hefner had to be extracted from their vehicles. While Lane was taken to St. Rita’s Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, Hefner was taken to Lima Memorial Health System, where he remained in stable condition late Monday.

There was no word on whether both drivers were wearing seat belts, but alcohol and drugs were not believed to be factors in the crash. Sheriff Matt Treglia said road conditions were slick at the time of the crash, but the department was continuing its investigation.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Lane and Hefner families,” Treglia said.

Perry Superintendent Omer Schroeder said classes at Perry schools were canceled for Tuesday. Depending on weather, the Perry boys basketball team was scheduled to play in a regional semifinal playoff game at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in Kettering.

Along with helping coach basketball, Lane had just completed his first year as head coach for the high school football team.

“The Perry family mourns his death,” Schroeder said. “He was a great community member. He has a lot of family in Perry Township. He even played football for me. He was truly loved by the community.”

Herb Lane Lane

Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.

Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.

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