Parkville car fire victim remembered as a mentor, coach

Posted at 4:09 PM, Nov 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-16 07:00:59-05

Baltimore County police identified the man killed in a van fire last Thursday and say at this point no criminal activity is suspected. 

Lewis Courts' family says he was a man of principle, good faith, and family. 

Losing someone you thought was everything takes a toll. 

"I was just talking to my family about it earlier and getting that call was like lesson done. You know he taught me everything," Jerrod Leak, Courts' grandson, said. 

Leak says Courts spent his life mentoring  him and dozens of others. 

"We're talking about basketball coaching, we're talking about football coaching over the years. So many people, so many students, anything -- anything he was doing it was always involving some type of sports or some type of health issues to better yourself," he said. 

A push for more that ended last week.

Baltimore County first responders identified Courts' body after putting out a van fire in the Parkway Crossing Plaza. 

"At some point, there was some kind of fire in the vehicle and very tragically, he died," Cpl. John Wachter, a spokesman with the Baltimore County Police Department, said. 

The van Courts was in didn't belong to him according to his family.

Wachter says Courts was with someone who happened to be in a store in the plaza when the fire started. 

According to witnesses, people tried getting him out, but the flames were too great.

"This man would've did the same thing for you. He would've hopped in a burning car, just like they were trying to get him out, to get you out. That's the man. He'd run an extra mile  for you," Leak said. 

Now Jerrod and his family are waiting for answers into what happened to their beloved patriarch. 

"He'd always let you know give me ten pushups, do a lap for me. He was even my gym teacher when I was in school. The things I would teach is to always work to get what you want and to leave a legacy behind and that's what he did," Leak said. 

Courts family say they saw him a little more than an hour before he died and he was fine. 

They haven't figured out funeral arrangements.

Fire officials are still investigating how the fire started.