Girl Scouts Struck by Intoxicated Driver


Photo courtesy of The Review Journal

Mary Smith, Journalist

   In early November, a Girl Scout troop in Lake Hallie, Minnesota was picking trash up next to a highway. They were in fourth and fifth grade and the adults were various ages. All were wearing bright safety vests so they could be seen.

   The speed limit was 35mph and a driver in a black Ford F-150 was traveling 55 mph. The driver and passenger both got high off of chemicals before getting in the car, which resulted in a the driver’s inability to drive well, as he was swerving and jerking the wheel. The passenger said the driver should not have been behind the wheel, because it resulted in the car hitting five girls and an adult.

   Isis Su, a senior at PVHS said, “I feel as if this cleanup already seems like an irresponsible decision considering small children may wander and can’t always watch themselves.” The kids might be too close to the highway to begin with, and they could possibly get tired and wander around–ultimately it is not safe for the children.

   The crash led to the deaths of three young girls and an adult on that Saturday morning. There was a fourth girl who was taken in an ambulance to the hospital, and a fifth 10-year-old girl who was airlifted to the closest hospital. She arrived in critical condition, but is now stable and heading towards a positive recovery.

   The driver fled the scene and this left the troop questioning what would happen after.  Questions were buzzing on whether or not the driver would be in the clear, or if he would get away with vehicular manslaughter.

   Su also said, “A drunk driver is a drunk driver. A police vehicle would either be hit with the children or simply just there to witness. These people were living and trying to help their community like any other civilian.” If a police officer was there to witness the driver, he may have not prevented the crash, but he could have had the possibility of catching the driver and being a key witness.

   The entire community and Girl Scout community is grieving for those who lost their lives or injured. Ceremonies were held in honor of all the victims of the crash. Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada has made a paper chain link to send to the council in memoriam of the victims that were hit and for the girls in the hospital.

   The driver and passenger who hit the girls turned themselves in later that day. They both admitted that they had been huffing unknown chemicals before driving on the road.

   Britany McLoone, a junior at PVHS said, “He should be put in jail for life because he murdered people.” The driver left a trail of disaster and heartache behind him when he chose to drive under the influence.

   In total, the driver has 13 possible charges being pressed against him. FOX 5 of Las Vegas writes, “four counts of homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle, four counts of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle, four counts of hit-and-run involving death and one count hit-and-run involving great bodily harm.” McLoone also said, “He should be given a DUI, and a life sentence because he shouldn’t be free when the families of the Girl Scouts don’t get their children back.”

   There have been memorials and events at the girls’ schools to remember the girls who have passed as the community continues to grieve. The Girl Scout community is keeping them in their memories as they mourn the loss of their Girl Scout sisters. Their loss will not be forgotten and the impact they were making will be their legacy.