A 16-year-old driver is in serious condition, after being hit head-on, by a car driving at night, with no lights on.
There is little evidence of what happened on this stretch of Highway 7 near Watertown on Saturday night. But the ramifications can be felt in the hushed hallways of the Watertown-Mayer High School. Sixteen-year-old Ashley Melville, recently named student of the month for the junior class, remains hospitalized in serious condition at HCMC, the victim of a head-on collision.
Watertown-Mayer Principal Scott Gengler says Monday was tough for students, “In a school this size, in a community this size, it has a pretty profound effect on just about everyone.”
Melville is a two sport letter winner, as well as an academic letter winner. She always seemed to do everything right but on Saturday, she found herself in the wrong place at the wrong time.
It happened after dark as Melville was traveling east on Highway 7. Police say she had her headlights on but the driver of a westbound car did not.
Minnesota State Trooper Paul Cole says the collision happened as, “The one without the headlights on tried to pass and crashed with eastbound traffic.”
Melville’s gymnastics coach Steve Hangartner says Melville is a wonder girl, “It hurts even more when you hear something like that. She was just an innocent person driving and this has to happen. She's just an awesome kid.”
The 21 year old Litchfield man who allegedly hit Melville is in critical condition at HCMC. He has a traffic record that includes speeding, failing to obey signs and allowing an open container in his vehicle, but authorities say, it is unknown at this time whether alcohol was a factor.
In the meantime, Melville’s condition is said to be improving.
By Brad Woodard , KARE 11 News
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