Authorities have unveiled the identities of the individuals involved in a devastating crash that claimed the lives of three people in southern Lincoln County over the weekend. The incident occurred in the early hours of Saturday, Dec. 9, on 291st Street, between 467th and 468th Avenue, approximately 10 miles northwest of Beresford, South Dakota.
The South Dakota Highway Patrol spearheaded the preliminary investigation, revealing that a 2014 Ram 1500 was traveling eastbound along 291st Street when it tragically veered off the roadway. The vehicle collided with a driveway, catapulted into the air, and ultimately rolled into the ditch.
The victims of this heart-wrenching crash have been identified as 20-year-old Parker resident Gerard Muller, 19-year-old Beresford resident Kaydence Nygaard, and 18-year-old Irene resident Collin Hlavac. The community mourns the loss of these young lives, taken far too soon in a moment of tragedy.
A glimmer of hope amid the despair is the survival of 20-year-old Davis resident Hayden Hall. Hall managed to emerge from the wreckage with serious but non-life-threatening injuries. The crash, however, sheds light on a concerning detail – none of the four occupants were wearing seat belts at the time of the incident, underscoring the importance of adhering to safety measures on the road.
The discovery of the crash was incidental, as a Lincoln County sheriff’s deputy stumbled upon the scene while investigating a stolen vehicle report at a nearby farm operation. Suspecting a connection between the reported vehicle theft and the crash, the deputy diligently combed through the area roads until the wreckage was located.
In a twist of fate, it was revealed that the suspect involved in the vehicle theft was also present at the crash scene. The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the apprehension of the suspect, who was subsequently transported to an area hospital for medical treatment of injuries sustained during the incident.
The aftermath of the crash led to legal repercussions for Hayden Hall. On Monday, the Lincoln County State’s Attorney’s Office filed charges against Hall, including possession of a stolen vehicle, driving a vehicle after alcohol consumption while under the age of 21, possession of alcohol while under the age of 21, and obstruction of an officer. The legal proceedings bring forth questions about whether additional charges are pending as the investigation unfolds.
Complicating matters further is the uncertainty surrounding Hayden Hall’s role in the crash. The South Dakota Highway Patrol has not conclusively determined whether Hall was the driver of the crashed pickup. The driver’s identity remains under investigation, leaving a critical piece of the puzzle yet to be unveiled.
As the community grapples with the aftermath of this tragic incident, the unanswered questions surrounding the crash linger. The circumstances leading to the vehicle leaving the roadway, the factors contributing to the absence of seat belts, and the events that transpired in the moments leading up to the crash all form a complex web of uncertainties that investigators must carefully untangle.
Hayden Hall is scheduled to appear in a Lincoln County courtroom on Dec. 27, marking a pivotal moment in the legal proceedings. The courtroom will serve as a stage for unveiling more details about the crash and potentially shedding light on the still-elusive identity of the driver. Until then, the community remains united in grief, cherishing the memories of those lost and hoping for clarity amid the shadows of tragedy.