Herald JournalHerald Journal, March 3, 2003

LP girls OK following accident

By Ryan Gueningsman

Sixteen-year-old Mollie Piehl and her three young passengers of Lester Prairie are all OK following a single-car accident Wednesday just after 3 p.m.

She was taking the three female passengers, ranging in age from eight to 10, to dance class in Winsted when she apparently blacked out and lost control of the vehicle, said Lester Prairie Police Chief Bob Carlson.

She jumped the curb and went through three lawns before striking a tree "head-on at the residence of 107 First Ave. N.," Carlson said.

She also hit a real estate sign, a Sprint phone box, and apparently was on two wheels for a brief period of time, Carlson said.

A quick-thinking friend, Melanie Renk, who happened to be traveling the opposite direction of Piehl saw the accident and called 911. She also contacted Piehl's family.

All four occupants were taken via ambulance to Ridgeview Medical Center in Waconia.

"All of the girls have bumps and scrapes from it," Carlson said. "All of them are students at Lester Prairie Schools."

Mollie will be back in school Monday, said her mom Peg Rathkamp. Her knees, ribs, and abdomen were bruised, and she also has a swollen elbow.

"She really doesn't remember much about it," Rathkamp said. "Her friends have been so supportive. By the time we got back from the hospital, there were so many flowers at the house."

Both Rathkamp and Carlson agree that this is a good reminder to wear seatbelts, as no one in the vehicle had them on.

"This is an example of why you should wear seatbelts," Carlson said. "Those are lucky young girls."

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