VERMILLION TOWNSHIP, Minn. - A 17-year-old from Burnsville is dead, and three other teens injured following a rollover crash in Dakota County Wednesday evening.
The Minnesota State Patrol says the crash happened around 9:45 p.m. on Highway 52 near the intersection with 180th Street in Vermillion Township. Investigators say a 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee with the four teens inside was headed northbound on Highway 52 when the 17-year-old driver lost control and the SUV rolled. One passenger, identified as 17-year-old Ty Alyea, was dead on the scene. The State Patrol says Alyea was not wearing a seat belt.
Alyea's friend Cole Borchardt was also not belted in and suffered serious injuries. He was transported to Regions Hospital in St. Paul for treatment. Ty Procko and Matt Berger, both 17, were wearing seat belts were not seriously injured.
"I prayed," said Burnsville baseball coach Mick Scholl, choking back tears as he described hearing about the crash that claimed the life of his shortstop and injured his friends. "I just prayed for him. Prayed for the family. Prayed for the kids."
Scholl tells KARE 11 that the boys were returning home from cliff diving near Cannon Falls when the accident occurred. He feels for all the families, especially Alyea's, and describes the young man he's taught and coached for years as something special.
"He's a friend of everybody," Scholl recalled. "He could be in the popular group or the non popular group, he was easy to get along with. He was a fun kid, he was a loving kid. Whatever group he was around, Ty was very well respected and kids just cling to him because of his personality."
All the teenagers involved in the wreck are from Burnsville. The community will hold a vigil for Ty Alyea and his friends at the football practice fields at Burnsville High School at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
The cause of the fatal crash is still under investigation.
Ty Alyea played baseball for the Burnsville Cobras, the city's American Legion Team. Baseball Association 191 has set up a fund at Anchor Bank that will receive donations for Ty's family. Donations can be sent or dropped off at any Anchor Bank and checks should be made payable to: The Family of Ty Alyea.