A Minnesota firefighter nearly collapsed when he responded to the scene of a car accident and discovered that his 16-year-old son was the victim.
The incident occurred at around 10 p.m. on Oct. 16, the Daily Mail reported. Randy Peterson was on his way to the scene of a car crash on Highway 9 in Borup when he started to get a bad feeling.
Peterson had been calling his son, but wasn't getting an answer. His son had not made it home yet and he reportedly became more and more worried after each unanswered call.
When the fire crew arrived at the scene, Peterson recognized the vehicle. The car was in flames with its wheels in the air. He knew his 16-year-old son, Carter, was inside the car.
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“I dropped to my knees,” Peterson told the Star Tribune. “'I was a mess. Another member of the crew just held me.”
Carter had just dropped off his girlfriend, Sarah Hawley. He had been on his way home when a pickup truck allegedly ran a stop sign and slammed into the driver’s side of his Dodge Avenger.
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The teenager’s vehicle rolled over and crashed into a ditch before catching on fire. Carter was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver of the truck was identified as 20-year-old Ethan Stensgard. He was not seriously injured and authorities said alcohol was detected in his system. It has not yet been decided if Stensgard will be facing any criminal charges.
“Carter was probably the most cautious driver,” Peterson said. “Two hands on the wheel and he never sped.
“He did nothing wrong. He's driving down the road and all of a sudden somebody goes through a stop sign. In the blink of an eye and he's gone.”
Carter was reportedly very involved in school and activities. He played basketball, football, track and field and sang in the choir at Ada-Borup High School.
The football team paid Tribute to the teenager on Oct. 19. Players presented the Peterson family with flowers and retired his No. 63 jersey. They also painted the number on the football field and had it displayed on their helmets.
The team went on to win their game against Cass Lake-Bena 45-0. The opponents also paid tribute by performing a drum chant in honor of Carter.
Peterson said his son lived for football.
“He was always a happy person,” he said. “He was looking to have fun and enjoy himself.”
“The community support has been outstanding,” Peterson added. “That is one thing about small towns. They definitely rally together.”