Popular Sandstone High School Student Killed by Suspected Drunk Driver

Beth McDonough

February 10, 2015 10:55 PM

A suspected drunk driver is to blame for a crash that killed a young man with a bright future.

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It happened Monday night in rural Sandstone—17-year-old Colton Nelson died and his sister and a friend were injured. 

A basketball game at East Central High School was scheduled Tuesday night. The Eagles were set to take on Pine City. But after Nelson's death, the game was called off.  And, much like the halls of the high school were empty, so are a lot of hearts.

As hard as it is for community members to comprehend Nelson's abrupt death, "it's been a real tough thing on the kids from kindergarten on up," Andrew Almos, the superintendent of East Central Schools, said.

It's even more heartbreaking for Nelson's parents.

"We should be having a graduation party; instead we're planning a funeral," his mom, Kayla, told WDIO's sister station, KSTP.

Nelson was a senior at East Central and a talented athlete and student.  He played basketball, football and golf. What's more, he was homecoming king.

"If you think about the kind of kid you want to have in school, he's that kind of kid," Kayla said.

Nelson was the kind of all-American teenager any parent would be proud off. The family is in pain since learning the head-on crash that took their son's life along County Road 28 and put their daughter’s and a friend's lives at risk too, was caused by a suspected drunk driver. 

The 34-year-old had a bottle of vodka in his truck, which made the Nelson family feel "anger, anger that we lost someone so special, I feel for his family, for his own children, they have to deal with this too," Kayla said.

The suspected drunk driver’s kids go to the same school as Nelson. A school-wide announcement was made and counselors were brought in to talk students through their grief. As for Nelson’s family, "We're blessed and thankful we were able to have 17 years with him. I wanted more, his story wasn't done," Kayla said.

In fact, it isn't done. Nelson's body is with the Ramsey County Medical Examiner.  His organs and tissue are being harvested to help others.  That's what he wanted; it said so on his license.

As for the suspected drunk driver: he's in the hospital in critical condition. It's not clear if he'll make it, which is why he hasn't officially been arrested or charged.


Beth McDonough

Copyright 2016 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved


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