MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — An accident involving teenagers playing “Nerf Wars” has the Waconia school superintendent warning parents about the game.
Investigators reportedly said that the rollover crash injured six students from the area. The crash happened at Oak Avenue and Sparrow Road at about 9 p.m. Friday.
A 16-year-old driver on Sparrow Road failed to stop at a stop sign and crashed into a vehicle traveling in on Oak Avenue.
“You just heard a loud crash and then another couple of crashes,” said neighbor Rob Weber.
By the time he ran outside, the teenagers — who were mostly unscathed — had already crawled out of the vehicles.
Weber had his theories on what the students were up to.
“It wasn’t confirmed until I saw a couple of Nerf darts,” he said.
In Nerf Wars, students try to tag each other after or before school with foam bullets, and the last one standing wins a cash pot. The games can take place in a variety of locations, like parks or homes, but the most dangerous way has been while driving.
Police said that they believe the driver who failed to stop at a stop sign was in transit to play the game, but was not actively engaged in the game at the time of the crash.
Nonetheless, a Twitter account connected with the Waconia game said that it had been canceled for 2018.
Waconia Schools Superintendent Pat Devine said he did not realize students in his district were playing the game.
“My first thought was I’m kind of surprised this game still exists because that tragedy in Lakeville kind of shocked everybody, put everybody on notice that this game shouldn’t happen,” Devine said. “It’s really unsafe and we don’t want anything tragic to happen in our community, so we’d really like our parents to have heart-to-heart conversations with their kids.”
He said he met with the students involved in the crash, as well as the game’s organizers Monday, and was glad to hear the game was stopped.
“These kids were doing some unsafe behaviors, but once they realized that, they wanted to do something good with it,” Devine said.
Using the Waconia Nerf 2018 Twitter handle, organizers held a vote on what to do with the prize money. Some will be refunded, but the rest donated to the Waconia Food Shelf. Organizers sent this statement to WCCO:
We ended the war because we wanted the town to be safe. Our plan was to have a safe war that lasted 3 weeks, but seeing the dangers and consequences that could happen, we thought it would be best to end it. Again, us as commissioners are so thankful no one was hurt in this incident. We are donating the money because we want something good to come at the end of all this. We are planning on giving the money that is not refunded back to the Waconia Food Shelf.