A Lakeville North High School student lost her life during Wednesday morning's snowy commute.
Alyssa Ettl, 16, was driving on Dodd Boulevard south of 190th Street in Lakeville around 9:45 a.m., and was a quarter mile from the high school when she lost control on the slush-covered roadway.
Police say Ettl was driving hr Pontiac Grand Prix south when the vehicle began to slide sideways and was then broadsided by a GMC Acadia traveling in the opposite direction. The Acadia was carrying two people, 31-year-old Crystal Carole Hanson and her 2-year-old son, Avery; both sustained minor injuries.
Occupants of both vehicles were wearing seatbelts, Lakeville police confirmed.
The Lakeville area received a coating of snow overnight and it had been snowing on and off during the morning hours. A light mist was falling at the time of the crash.
School was scheduled to open two hours late as part of the regular school year, not due to weather conditions.
Staff was immediately informed of the crash and assisted students as they dealt with the tragic loss. A fellow student told Fox 9 News, "I wish I could be more like Alyssa."
"It was just so loving to see all of Lakeville come together as one," Sammie Piekarski, Ettl's best friend, told Fox 9 News.
Piekarski said she had worked out with her friend earlier that morning before her death, and she still struggles to accept that she's gone so suddenly.
"It doesn't feel real right now," Piekarski admitted.
Ettl was an all-American girl who had just been voted captain of next year's soccer team after a close run for the state title. She was also a DECA officer, volunteered for the Best buddies, and was a very active member of All Saints Catholic Church.
MESSAGE FROM LAKEVILLE SCHOOLS
"We are very sad to inform you that we lost a student today to a fatal car crash. Junior, Alyssa Ettl, was an exceptional student, athlete and friend to many.
There are counselors available for support at LNHS, and staff at CMS and OHE where she attended are being notified by the principal."
A NEW FOCUS ON SAFETY
The school is also asking students to refrain from visiting the crash site to remember Ettl as it could be dangerous. Instead, they are encouraging her classmates to remember her at the rock on school grounds.
Students who spoke with Fox 9 News say Ettl made a huge impact in her young life, and her death has done the same.
"After I heard about it on the news and after I heard it was Alyssa ... it put things into perspective," Tyler Springer said.
That perspective is a keen awareness of how important it is to drive carefully.
"I know it's a cliche, but now that someone personal -- someone everyone knew and loved at the school -- had an accident and ended up passing away, it's going to be that much more important now," Springer said.