UPDATED SUNDAY AT 9:30 P.M.
A severe car accident took place Wednesday – just days before graduation for HLWW – with four Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted seniors involved, as they returned from the section track meet on Highway 55 near Annandale.
Killed was HLWW senior Madey Kleve, 18 who was one of three candidates for Miss Howard Lake this year.
Among the injured are senior Kacie Carlsted, 18, who is a prolific dancer and also a candidate for Miss Howard Lake, who has a broken pelvis, punctured lung and facial injuries; senior Mitch Bayerl, 18, who was airlifted to Hennepin County Medical Center, and Brie Barfknecht of Waverly, who was taken to Buffalo Hospital, treated and released.
All four are honor students.
During the graduation ceremony Sunday, many were pleasantly surprised by the presence of Mitch Bayerl at the ceremony in a wheelchair, wan and tired, but able to smile and interact. He was only just able to start walking the day before, according to the Caring Bridge web site. Brie Barfknecht also took part in the ceremony with her fellow classmates.
The Kleve family also attended, as well as Marshall Carlsted on behalf of Kacie.
Rather than planning their daughter’s future during graduation, Dan and Julie Kleve were put in the position of planning their daughter’s funeral instead.
Nevertheless, the Kleves attended the graduation ceremony with daughters Morgan and McCall. The girls tearfully accepted Madey’s diploma.
Visitation for Madey was set for Monday, June 2 at 4-8 p.m, with a 7 p.m. prayer time at the St. John’s Lutheran Church in Howard Lake. Funeral service is set for Tuesday, June 3 at 2 p.m., with visitation a half hour prior at the new Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School, located at County Road 6 south & 30. Arrangements are being made by Swanson-Peterson. Madey’s obituary is located inside.
Kacie’s twin brother, Erick Carlsted, reported Wednesday night that his sister was doing OK in intensive care at St. Cloud Hospital, in an attempt to calm concerned questions from the community during the initital confusion of the accident.
According to the Caring Bridge web site for Kacie, she has multiple injuries, including head injury (brain), facial fractures-left eye and maxillary sinus, pelvic fractures, liver laceration (stable – not bleeding as of Thursday), punctured lung (showed healed on CT scan), rib fracture, lower spinal injury (as far as we can tell no spinal cord damage), cervical spine – neck possible injury.
Kacie’s mother, Lee Ann Carlsted, wrote the following update Saturday afternoon on the Caring Bridge site for Kacie: “Kacie is stable and still in critical condition. She moved her left hand today when the nurse cleaned her mouth out. This is a good sign because she has not moved her left hand before this. She is moving on a subconscious level and is reacting to pain stimulus (she does not like having her mouth cleaned out).”
“Surgery is still scheduled for Monday (today) for her face and will have the tube in her neck (treacheotomy) for breathing done at that time,” Lee Ann wrote.
Kacie is a well known dancer with the Barbara Lee Studio of Dance. Barbara Lee commented on Kacie’s Caring Bridge site that she will be dedicating this year’s dance recital to Kacie.
Mitch Bayerl was airlifted to Hennepin County Medical Center, which is where he remains; although he was able to obtain a brief pass to attend the HLWW graduation Sunday. He accepted his diploma himself, while being pushed in a wheelchair.
This helped improve the tone of the ceremony entirely, according to some parents who attended, saying that the other graduates took the cue of positivity from Bayerl and went from there.
However, the graduates did not toss their caps as they normally would; but Silly String still took place. A touching song by the choir caused an impromptu show of solidarity by graduates in their gowns, as they walked down the choir steps, linked arms and sang “Up Where We Belong.”
Hopefully the activity wasn’t too much for Bayerl, who had only the day before had the doctor take out Mitch’s chest tube. He was able to sit and visit with some of his teachers and family, as well as able to visit with some of his close friends. This was a huge step, according to his family, because Mitch stayed wide awake the entire visit (about two hours.) On Saturday, up until the journal entry was made, Mitch was able to walk the hallway four times.
Bayerl went to Holy Trinity up to the ninth grade, and his Caring Bridge comments were packed full of well wishes from the Winsted area as well as elsewhere.
An outpouring of grief, sympathy from many
Grief counselors, youth pastors, and many others were on hand Thursday morning at HLWW trying to console dozens of crying students, who were shaken with grief. Some on hand included Lisa Weninger, ag instructor Jim Weninger’s wife, Pastor Rick Messer, youth pastor Matt Wagner, Dennis Entinger and several others, along with Principal Mike Day and Supt. George Ladd.
More than 96 messages were received on the HJ Blog over a four-day period.
Carlsted is the daughter of Lee Ann and Marshall Carlsted of Howard Lake, and Bayerl the son of Tom and Janette Bayerl of Silver Lake. Brie Barfknecht is from Waverly, and the daughter of Lyle Barfknecht and DeAnne Jenkins.
The accident took place 6:11 p.m. Wednesday at the intersection of Wright Co. Rd. 6 and Highway 55 and was broadside crash in nature, according to an accident report by the State Patrol.
The HLWW students were traveling southbound in a 2001 Altima, with Brie Barfknecht as the driver, when they stopped at the intersection of Wright Co. Rd. 6 and Highway 55, located between Annandale and Maple Lake. Then, according to the State Patrol, the Altima rolled into the path of a 1997 Dodge Ram truck going eastbound on Highway 55, driven by Josh Hoffenkamp, 27, of Maple Lake, with passengers Kaia Hoffenkamp, 4, and Seann Hoffenkamp, 2, of Maple Lake. All three truck occupants received non-life threatening injuries.
The collision caused the car to end up in the southeast ditch, according to the truck driver and a witness at the scene, reported Chuck Sterling of the Annandale Advocate.
The truck ended up in the westbound turning lane at the intersection, facing east, Sterling reported.
Two of the four occupants of the car were thrown, Carlsted and Bayerl. Kleve was killed on impact, with Carlsted and Bayerl listed in critical condition.
Click here for Kacie Carlsted’s Caring Bridge web site
Click here for Mitch Bayerl’s Caring Bridge web site
To see a videotaped report by KARE 11 news, click here.