STATESVILLE, N.C. – When former Michigan City resident Anthony James Ravenscroft was fatally struck by a tow truck last month on a North Carolina interstate, the death was ruled a suicide.
And according to family members, the 32-year-old Ravenscroft had spent much of his life battling drug addiction.
The crash occurred about 7:22 p.m. May 15 on I-77 in Statesville, North Carolina, near the interchange with I-40, according to the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.
The police report said the truck was in the left lane of a four-lane roadway, heading south at about 55 mph when Ravenscroft, who was on foot, “darted from the emergency lane into the path of the truck,” which struck him and then came to a stop in the roadway.
Witnesses told police that Ravenscroft was on the shoulder of the road and ran out in front of the truck. He was killed instantly, and the death was ruled a suicide, according to police.
Anthony Ravenscroft was born and raised in Michigan City, one of 12 children, according to family members. He attended Michigan City High School, but did not graduate, though he later received his GED, family members said. He would have been in the Class of 2005.
“He struggled with depression after losing his son, who was adopted,” his sister, Stacy Ravenscroft said. “Due to his depression, he fell into the world of drugs, which he struggled with since about 2009-10.”
His mother, Charlotte Binion, also said Anthony struggled with addiction.
"But he got himself clean," she said. His drug use did not stem from the over-prescribing of prescription pills, she said. "His addiction stemmed from the crack pipe that was put in his hand at age 13."
Anthony Ravenscroft loved motocross racing and his art, his mother and sister said.
"Anthony had many talents," Binion said. "He was involved with motorcross for awhile; he loved to sing and could sing any song that was asked of him; but he love tattooing. He was a great artist."
He loved the motorcycle racing and “was an amazing tattoo artist,” Stacy Ravenscroft said.
Besides his son – Anthony Ravenscroft II, who was adopted – he had three other children, she said. Two daughters, Audreah and Avalynn; and a son, Nathan Burdi. He is also survived by his wife, Rayann Ravenscroft, whom he married in 2018.
Family members disagree on the cause of the suicide.
His sister believes “his depression was partly due to his lack of relationship with the children. Avalynn is the only one he had a real relationship with.
“All he ever wanted was to be a dad, but the addiction had too strong a hold on him. I feel like the stigma around addiction leaves out the mental health effects of drug abuse, and the fact that a vast majority of drug abuse stems from some type of mental trauma or illness,” Stacy Ravenscroft said.
"Anthony was a great father, and family was very important to him," Binion said.
She called her son a "private person" and said said, "No one knew anything about him except what he wanted them to know."
Stacy Ravenscroft said she posted her brother's story in an addiction recovery group website.
“The director of Mountain View Recovery and Treatment Center in Weaverville, North Carolina, reached out to me” and is “putting together a scholarship to offer in his memory for someone struggling with addiction to be able to receive help.”
She called drug addiction “a huge problem in the U.S. and also a prevalent issue in La Porte County.”
Anthony Ravenscroft moved to North Carolina “to try to escape the ever-revolving fall into addiction, and I believe being away from his support system, he fell deeper into depression.”
Binon said her son and his wife "moved south to get away from the people and places that posed a threat to his rehabilitation. They wanted a fresh start, and a new beginning."
But she does not believe he was suffering from depression.
"I spoke with him two days before this incident and he had plans – he was looking forward to his future. We even made plans for a few family members to visit this summer."
She said the cause of his suicide will likely never be known.
"We are all hurting and grieving over a very big loss, and everyone wants answers," she said. "We do not know why this tragedy happened and, unfortunately, we never will. That answer lies with Anthony."
Stacy Ravenscroft said she "wants to spread awareness about the risk of suicide as it relates to drug abuse, because until now I personally never thought the two were connected. But maybe some people would be more successful at sobriety if not only them, but their families, understand this type of support mentally can go a long way in the recovery process."
She suggested those struggling with addiction "reach out for support to local agencies, sponsors, and most importantly, family. Also maybe the suicide hotline [800-273-8255].”
In Indiana, the drug addiction hotline number is 800-662-HELP (4357).
“Our family loves Anthony very much and he will be missed,” his sister said.