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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Celebration of life planned for Decorah High School students killed in car crash
Event honoring two teen victims scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday at Decorah High School
A public celebration of life is planned for two Decorah High School students who died following a crash that also injured three others from Decorah last week in Winneshiek County.
People may attend the celebration at Decorah High School, 100 Claiborne Dr., at 5 p.m. Thursday for the two students who were killed — the driver, Dalton Hemesath, 18, of Ridgeway and passenger Karter Einck, 18, of Decorah.
Mark Lane, superintendent of the Decorah Community School District, said the district over the weekend coordinated with the Keystone Area Education Agency crisis team, Winneshiek Medical Center, Luther College and the local church community to provide crisis intervention and counseling support at all buildings Monday, amounting to about 20 additional individuals available for individual or small group support. The district also had its own support staff available.
“We believe a key part of healing is grieving together,” Lane said. “Today our focus really was on allowing that process to begin for our staff and students, and for our community as we come together to grieve together, to honor Karter, Dalton and their families.”
Though school community is “deeply saddened by the sudden loss,” Lane said, the district is “touched by the outpouring of support” from the Decorah community and from other districts.
Lane said Hemesath and Einck left a mark beyond their own school district, particularly with both students’ FFA involvement.
“Karter and Dalton were respected and loved friends and leaders among our student body,” Lane said. “They will leave a void for family, for friends and for our school.”
Hemesath was preparing to study engineering at Iowa State University. According to his obituary, he was active in the National FFA Organization as president of his high school chapter, and was involved with judging livestock and soil competitions. He also was a member of the National Honor Society.
Einck had plans to attend college at Iowa Central Community College and eventually transfer to the University of Northern Iowa to study business. In high school, he participated in speech, cross-country, bowling and many other activities, according to his obituary. He was a captain for cross-country and bowling teams.
A private burial is planned for both services. Schluter-Balik Funeral Home is handing the arrangement.
The one-car crash injured Brendan Hunter, 17; David Kfeitzer, 18; and Emmitt Stemper, 17. They are all from Decorah.
The crash happened around 10:30 p.m. Friday at Pole Line Road and County Road W-14, according to the Iowa State Patrol. The rural intersection is between Cresco and Decorah and north of Ridgeway.
Investigators said tire marks show that Hemesath lost control sideways and entered the west ditch. The sport utility vehicle is believed to have rolled three times before coming to a stop on its tires. None of the passengers were wearing seat belts when the crash happened, according to the accident report.
The crash remains under investigation.
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