HASTINGS, Minn. (WCCO) – A Hastings High School student was killed in a two-vehicle crash in Hastings Thursday night, according to Dakota County Sheriff Dave Bellows.
The crash happened at about 7:50 p.m. Thursday near the intersection of 190th Street and Lewiston Boulevard, which is a gravel road located in Marshan Township.
Authorities said two vehicles were involved in the crash. Bellows identified the victim as 16-year-old Maddy Sake, who was a junior at the high school. She was driving a 2003 Kia and was the lone occupant at the time of the crash. Sake was transported by air ambulance to Regions Hospital in St. Paul, where she succumbed to her injuries approximately four hours later.
Sam Lenz, who was Maddy’s best friend, said she had a positive impact on those around her.
“She meant more to me than anybody else did. She just made everybody happy, always. She always had a smile, always,” Sam said.
Maddy had a twin sister. She had just started her junior year at Hastings High School a few days ago. She played soccer during her first few years of high school.
The driver of the second vehicle has been identified as Blake Allen Beissel, 18 years old, from Hastings. Beissel was driving a 1997 Chevrolet club cab pick-up at the time of the crash. Passengers in the truck have been identified as Derek Vernon Niebur, 18, of Hastings, and Mariah Kay Nelson, 17, also of Hastings.
All three occupants of the truck were transported by ambulance with non-life threatening injuries. Beissel was driving a 1997 Chevrolet club cab pick-up at the time of the crash.
Beissel and Maddy are friends, according to their other close friends. Beissel had graduated from the high school, along with Derek Niebur. Mariah Nelson is currently a student at the high school.
The preliminary investigation indicates that Sake was northbound on Lewiston Boulevard, and Beissel was southbound at the time of the collision. The crash occurred near a hill crest, which is believed to have contributed to the crash. It’s possible, Bellows says, that the drivers did not see each other as they approached the hill.
Corey Likes lives and works in Hastings. His son, Cody, is good friends with Maddy.
“They are a close group of friends,” Likes said.
At the accident scene, a man who described himself as a close family friend recalled Maddie’s personality.
“Maddie was really outgoing, funny gal,” he said.
The superintendent of schools says they have counselors on hand at both Hastings Middle School and Hastings High School to help with those grieving the loss, and there will be a moment of silence at Friday night’s football game.
Superintendent Tim Collins said he witnessed tears being shed in class, once news of Maddy’s death broke Friday morning.
“The reaction by our staff was very strong emotionally. [Maddy was] a person, who, if she met you, you’d say, ‘What a good kid!’ Bubbly. And going to be involved in all the activities of the day,” he said.
Maddy’s friends dressed in black Friday night for the season opener for the Hastings Football team.
Principal Mike Johnson read a statement written by Sake’s friends, and led the entire stadium in a moment of silence.
The crash remains under investigation by the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office and the Minnesota State Patrol.