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Graduating senior among 3 killed in crash

Associated Press

LAKE BENTON, Minn. -- Lake Benton High School held a somber graduation ceremony just hours after a crash killed three former and current students.

One of the victims was 18-year-old Nathan Johnson of Lake Benton, who was due to get his diploma Saturday night. Instead, his empty chair was draped with a graduation gown, cap, and a cord showing that he was an honor student. Each of the 13 graduates -- one of whom lost a sister in the same crash -- laid a rose on the chair before taking their seats. Every one of them signed his diploma.

The other crash victims were 17-year-old Alicia Vos of Lake Benton, whose brother graduated on Saturday, and former student Lance Oppelt, 25, of Elkton, S.D.

Lincoln County Sheriff Jack Vizecky said the crash happened around 1:30 a.m. at the intersection of Lincoln County roads 119 and 2. Vizecky said a pickup driven by Oppelt collided with a car driven by Vos. Johnson was a passenger in the Vos car.

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Vizecky said two other passengers from the Vos car were in intensive care at Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D. He identified them as Brandon Oelmann, 15, and Curtis Oelmann, 17, both of Viola, Ill.

McKennan Hospital said Sunday it could not release information on the Oelmanns' status because they are children.

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