MONTGOMERY, Minn. (WCCO) – Starting Monday morning, the classrooms at Most Holy Redeemer School in Montgomery will be filled with students. But one desk will be empty.
Eleven-year-old Mary Urtuzuastegui was just minutes from home Friday night on a drive back from a homecoming game at Tri-City United High School with her stepdad, when their SUV crossed the center line and crashed into an oncoming car. Both of them were killed.
Principal Mindy Reeder says Mary was a joy to have at school.
“She always smiled and she always pitched in and that’s just who Mary was,” Reeder said. “It’s a pretty horrific thing to wake up to on Saturday morning to learn that part of your family is no longer with us.”
Mary sang in choir, enjoyed writing and played volleyball. Her coach, Kayla Trcka, was this year’s homecoming queen. She said goodbye to Mary at the game Friday for the last time. When she heard about the accident, she gave her crown to Mary’s mother.
“I just think it was really fitting for her to have that crown because no one else would deserve it besides her,” Trcka said. “[Her mom] started crying and said she was always ‘her dad’s little princess.’”
While Mary’s locker and desk will be empty, she’ll be missed – but not forgotten.
“Mary’s spirit’s going to always be here,” Reeder said.
The crash also killed Mary’s stepfather, 51-year-old Condon Hulgan. Two others in the other vehicle, 22-year-old Jeffrey Miller and 24-year-old Travis Reak, were also killed.
Twenty-four-year-old Mark Miller survived the crash.
The Minnesota State Patrol is still investigating the exact cause of the crash.