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Two Minnesota high school students die in crash on way to school

MOUNDS VIEW, Minn. -- Two Mounds View High School students died Thursday morning shortly after their car was struck at a busy Arden Hills intersection.

MOUNDS VIEW, Minn. -- Two Mounds View High School students died Thursday morning shortly after their car was struck at a busy Arden Hills intersection.

A third student has been hospitalized with injuries.

“Kids aren’t supposed to die,” Mounds View High School Principal Jeffery Ridlehoover said at a late afternoon news conference. “They were just coming to school like they do every day.”

The three female friends were juniors at Mounds View, where they were “highly engaged … students” with “great smiles and great personalities” and frequently drove together, Ridlehoover said.

Their car was turning left from westbound County Highway 96 onto Old Highway 10 when it was struck by a vehicle traveling east on 96, Ramsey County sheriff’s office spokesman Sgt. John Eastham said.

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The accident was reported shortly after 7 a.m., and two of the victims were pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the other vehicle was alone at the time of the crash, treated at the scene and released, Eastham said.

Mounds View freshman George DeMay said he was on his way to school when he saw ambulances and a white car. The passenger’s side of the car had been “smashed in, almost half the way,” he said.

He assumed the white car belonged to a fellow Mounds View student, as classmates had pulled off to the side of the road and were on their phones.

As the day went on, “you could feel the bad vibe,” DeMay said. “Something was different.”

The school notified students and their families by email about 11:30 a.m. and made a school-wide announcement in the afternoon, but did not release the victims’ names out of respect for the families.

Throughout the day, the school was unusually quiet and somber, with students crying in the hallways, students said.

“You never really think it could happen to you or your friends,” sophomore Leena Sparrow said. “It puts things into perspective. It makes all the little conflicts you have with people seem not so important.”

The school district’s crisis team went to the high school to discuss the crash with students, and grief counselors were available throughout the day. Counselors will also be available Friday and deans will visit the victims’ classes, Ridlehoover said. Students are planning to wear blue in memory of the victims Friday.

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“Education is going to be second tomorrow. We’re about taking care of each other,” he said Thursday.

Counselors and support staff will be available to all community members in the Mounds View High School Commons from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in lieu of a previously scheduled “Communication Night” event.

The school canceled hockey and wrestling events scheduled for Thursday evening and postponed the school board’s “Feedback Forum” on school start times.

“This will be a very difficult time for our students, staff and community,” said the school’s announcement to students and families. “We want to make sure that those affected by this tragedy feel supported in expressing or coping with their grief.”

Information on the injured student’s condition was not available early Thursday evening.

The Minnesota State Patrol is assisting the Ramsey County sheriff’s office with crash reconstruction, according to a State Patrol spokesman.

  

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