MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Just a few weeks before students at Burnsville High School will return, a shocking tragedy hit hard.

Seventeen-year-old Ty Alyea, who would have been an incoming senior, was killed Wednesday evening in a rollover accident in Dakota County.

“I went to bed and woke up and he was gone,” said a tearful friend, Brennan Pruszinske.

Pruszinske was Alyea’s teammate on the Blaze baseball team. He and other players referred to Alyea, who was a shortstop and captain, the team’s Derek Jeter. Not only was he popular and talented, he was a great leader off the field as well.

“Ty was an outgoing and happy guy,” Pruszinske said. “Everything he did he did 100 percent. He was a phenomenal athlete.”

Alyea was killed when the SUV he was riding in rolled over on Highway 52 near Coates. Both he and Burnsville hockey star, Cole Borchardt, were riding in the rear seat. Both were ejected from the vehicle and Borchardt remains in critical condition at Regions Hospital.

State Patrol investigators say neither was belted in.

“We see this as something that could have been prevented had these two young men been wearing seat belts in the back seat,” Lt. Eric Roeske said.

They were riding with two other Burnsville athletes and were returning from Cannon Falls after a day of swimming and cliff diving.

“He was extremely talented, but more than that we lost a good person,” said his baseball coach, Mick Scholl.

Scholl choked back emotion and had to pause while recalling the life taken so soon and suddenly. Scholl called Alyea a leader and inspiration to all his classmates.

Friends say it’s a loss that’s being felt far beyond the baseball diamond.

“Whenever you were down he’d make you smile or laugh,” Pruszinske said.

The State Patrol is still investigating and can’t say what cause the driver to lose control.

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