WAYCROSS, Fla. -- The family of a local marine is speaking only to Action News about the meltdown that ended their loved ones life.
Ryan Blankenship grew up knowing he wanted to be a Marine. He joined after high school, trained in South Carolina and became a marksman. But when orders came to ship out to Afghanistan, Ryan backed out.
"He said the place where they were going nobody had ever been and maybe only half of them would make it,” said Ryan’s mother, Wanda Scoville.
Scoville says that her son was easy-going and always sported a smile. But that all changed when he was discharged from the only life he envisioned for himself.
"He was going into a deep depression. I think he felt ashamed. He felt regret that he didn't do what he really set out to do.”
Ryan’s dark road led him into a Waycross Ford dealership Monday carrying a semi-automatic pistol. According to the Ware County Sheriff’s Office, Ryan forced his way into a 2012 Mustang 302 Boss and stole it off the showroom floor.
Scoville says that Ryan had a fascination with Mustangs. Ryan visited the dealership just a couple weeks ago, wanting to buy the car.
"He was going to have his last drive in the Mustang he always dreamed to have."
Deputies chased Ryan into Folkston, reaching speeds of 130 miles per hour. He crossed a railroad overpass the Mustang ran out of gasoline.
His sister, Angela Tomlinson, wants the community to know that tragedies like this can be prevented. All it takes is a persistent push to get help.
"They're not going to want it. But push them, make them. He didn't want to burden anybody, but it's not a burden if you love somebody,” said Tomlinson.