GRANT, Minn. — A memorial of hockey sticks and flowers marks the spot of the crash in rural Washington County that would eventually take the life of 16-year-old Samson Walters.
Family members said Walters, who's from Hugo, died Saturday, three days after the crash.
"Samson's a great kid, truly a great kid," Tom Larson said.
Larson coached Walters last year on the Mahtomedi Junior Gold 16 team.
"The most contagious smile and personality you could ever meet, to be honest with you," Larson said. "He's just such a bubbly, fun-loving, caring kid. Lights up the room is the way I would put it. His eyes would glow and his smile was infectious. He was a great guy."
The community of Mahtomedi recently put hockey sticks on doorsteps, a sign of honor tagged "Sticks out for Samson."
"I think everybody in the community knows him," Larson said.
The support expands outside the city. Saturday night, the Cottage Grove team paid tribute to Walters during their matchup with Mahtomedi.
The team prepared patches for both teams to wear on their jerseys. Walters' jersey was front and center.
"They did an amazing tribute at their game versus Cottage Grove, and it was just it was beautiful," Larson said.
The final score couldn't have been more fitting.
"Samson was number nine and the final score was nine to three, in favor of the Zephyrs," Larson said. "I think the odds were pretty good considering the circumstances."
A family friend has set up an online fundraiser for Walters' family.
Walters' team also has one in the works.
"My thoughts and prayers are with Samson, his mother, father, their whole family," said Larson. "Samson will be missed dearly by all."
According to the Washington County Sheriff's Office, the three-car crash happened in Grant, not far from Mahtomedi, on Jamaca Avenue and Justen Trail.
A 40-year-old from Stillwater was taken to the hospital after the crash. A 47-year-old from St. Paul was treated on scene.
The crash is still under investigation.
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