MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — The 19-year-old driver of a car that lost control on an icy highway near Sleepy Eye, killing four people, is still recovering in the hospital.
State Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske says Kansas Adams, of Sleepy Eye, was the only one wearing a seatbelt when the car he was driving was broadsided by a pickup truck after veering into oncoming traffic Friday night.
“It’s a tragic event. No community wants to deal with this but we have to do the best we can,” said John Cselovszki, Superintendent of Sleepy Eye Public Schools.
Killed were 18-year-old John Mangen of Fairfax, 17-year-old Caleb Quesenberry, of St. Peter, 17-year-old Payton Adams of Sleepy Eye, and 20-year-old Tyler Hadley of Sleepy Eye. The driver of the pickup and his two children suffered injuries that weren’t life-threatening.
Trudy Marshall, spokeswoman for the North Memorial Medical Center, says Adams was in critical condition Sunday. Kansas Adams is Payton Adams’ brother.
Now, the Sleepy Eye community plans to say goodbye Monday.
“Everyone knows everyone in this community,” said Ethan Silfies, a friend.
The local high school is where the community is now gathering to remember the victims.
Unable to make sense of their deaths, their friends are choosing to remember how they lived.
“John, baseball, he was really good. He was a fun guy,” said Saul Ibara, a friend. “Tyler Hadley, great basketball player. He was fun to be around. Payton, he always had a smile on his face and always just let people know that he was fun guy.”
Caleb Quesenberry attended a different high school. Silfies and Ibara didn’t know him very well.
Friends are now adding to the memorials and some, like Silfies, have plans for something more permanent to help ease the pain while also keeping their friends’ spirits alive.
“I think I’m going to get a tattoo for three of them and something I can remember them by,” said Silfies. “They’ll be missed and people don’t realize how much someone means to a community until they’re gone.”
On Monday, students are encouraged to go to Sleepy Eye High from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. if they want to talk to grief counselors. School is out for a teacher planning day, but help will be made available.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation. The father and his two children, in the other vehicle, are expected to survive.
The visitation for Quesenberry will be held on Monday with the funeral on Tuesday.
Hadley’s visitation will be Wednesday with the funeral on Thursday.
The visitation for Mangen will be Tuesday with a funeral on Wednesday.
Funeral arrangements for Adams were not available as of Sunday afternoon.
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