Community memorializes teens killed in Arden Hills crash

Solomon Gustavo photo • Mounds View High School students and community members gathered on the grounds of North Heights Lutheran Church in Arden Hills for a memorial service Dec. 1 to remember Mounds View students Stephanie Carlson and Bridget Giere. Both died in a car crash in Arden Hills on Dec. 1, 2016. Both were 16.

Solomon Gustavo photo • The garden on the grounds of North Heights Lutheran Church in Arden Hills memorializes the passing of Carlson and Giere.

It’s been a year since two Mounds View High school students, Stephanie Carlson and Bridget Giere, both 16, were killed in a car crash in Arden Hills on Dec. 1, 2016. 

This Dec. 1, Mounds View High School administrators supported any student who reached out for support, according to principal Stephanie Bruggers. The student body wore the favorite colors of the victims — blue and green — as well as had moments of silence in their honor. 

North Heights Lutheran Church, which erected a memorial garden for Carlson and Giere and held services in October, held a memorial service at the garden on Dec. 1.

In the intervening year, Bruggers wrote in a statement that the community has responded positively. 

“This horrible tragedy brought our school together and has made us stronger,” she said, adding that the “student body has been very supportive of each other.”

There was a third student in the car with Carlson and Giere. Sammy Redden, 18, survived the accident but suffered a collapsed lung and life-threatening injuries, according to the criminal complaint against the driver of the other car. Brueggers said that Redden is in school and is doing well.

The driver of the other car, 32-year-old Rachel Kayl of Maple Grove, according to the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office, was allegedly driving at speeds higher than 80 miles per hour when she struck the girls’ vehicle, occupied by the students heading to class, at the intersection of Highway 96 and Highway 10.

Using crash data retrieval software, police determined that Kayl’s vehicle was traveling 81-82 miles per hour just before the impact. The posted speed limit in the area is 50 miles per hour. 

Kayle was originally charged with criminal vehicular operation in connection to Redden’s injuries and two counts of criminal vehicular homicide, in May. Two additional manslaughter charges were added against Kayl in November. Kayl is next due in court for a motion hearing on Feb. 23. 

Solomon Gustavo

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