June 25, 2021

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One teen killed, four injured after car hits tree in Woodbury

Sources have confirmed with KARE 11 that the teen killed was a student at East Ridge High School.

WOODBURY, Minn. — Officials say a teenager was killed Saturday night when a car crashed into a tree, splitting the vehicle in half. Another four people who were in the vehicle were taken to the hospital. 

“When I heard the news, I just couldn’t believe it,” said Logan Ellis, a senior at East Ridge High School. 

Ellis said the victim was a close friend of his who was also a senior at ERHS. On Monday, Woodbury police identified the teen who died as Garrett Bumgarner. A GoFundMe has been set up for his family and the families of the other teens who were injured.

On Sunday, students gathered at the scene of the crash and placed flowers and signs around the tree that was struck. 

“Honestly, just one of the nicest kids I’ve ever met… He’s a guy you really want to be friends with,” Ellis said. 

Woodbury Public Safety was dispatched to the crash, which happened on Settlers Ridge Parkway near Sundance Way, at 11:08 p.m. The department said residents nearby heard the crash and called 911. 

According to Woodbury Police Commander John Altman, first responders arrived starting at 11:11 p.m. The department said the car, a 2015 Honda Accord, was “split in half” after hitting the tree. 

They said Bumgarner was ejected from the car in the crash. First responders extricated the remaining four from the car. An ambulance took three of the teens to Regions Hospital, and one to M Health Fairview Woodwinds Hospital. Woodbury police have identified the three teens as Connor Bro, Andrew McKevitt and Jack Mears. Their conditions are described as serious but stable as of Monday.

Family members of Jack Mears say he is scheduled to have surgery on his pelvis and clavicle and have set up a GoFundMe page for his recovery.

Ellis said all five of the victims go to East Ridge High School. South Washington County Schools Spokesperson Pepe Barton confirmed that some ERHS students were involved in the crash. Cmdr. Altman said all the victims are in the 16 to 17-year-old age range. 

Ellis and his friends stood at the scene on Sunday, mourning the loss of their friend at the growing memorial. Ellis recalled, “I remember meeting him back in middle school. Didn’t have a lot of friends back then but he took me in.” 

Ellis said they grew close over the years. His friend loved to play sports, including spikeball and hockey. A Raptors hockey jersey was placed among the flowers. 

“I’ll never be able to play sports with him again or have conversations at night about our future… I’ll never forget him. Just an upstanding guy and somebody who you wanted to be friends with and everyone at East Ridge — I think I can speak on their behalf — they loved him. He was just that guy. His energy… it radiated and I’m truly lucky. I was truly lucky to call him one of my best friends,” Ellis said. 

ERHS students are coming off of spring break but will not return to the school until Thursday, giving teachers time to prep for a return to in-person learning. According to Barton, they will have virtual rooms available for students where they can meet with counselors, psychologists and social workers. Barton said they will also have additional resources and support available to students when they return to the classroom. 

“There’s a lot of emotion for everyone to process, and our hearts are heavy for all those involved and affected by this crash,” said Cmdr. Altman in an email to KARE 11. 

The cause of the crash is under investigation; Minnesota State Patrol is reconstructing the crash.