Friends, Classmates Stunned: Teen Dies, Two Critical Following Crash

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An Omaha teen was killed and two others injured in a two-vehicle accident in Gretna Friday evening.

The Sarpy County Sheriff's Department says an eastbound pickup and a southbound Jeep collided at the intersection of South 180th Street and Highway 370 just before 6:30 p.m.

The Jeep’s front seat passenger, 15-year-old Nathaniel LaFave, was taken to the Nebraska Medical Center where he died. He was a student at Elkhorn Mount Michael High School.

The driver, 16-year-old Madeline Shely of Elkhorn, and another passenger, 15-year-old Carly Kelly of Omaha, were hospitalized in critical condition and are expected to recover. Both are students at Marian High School.

The driver of the pickup was not hurt. The cause of the accident remains under investigation.

Over a hundred people gathered for a vigil on Sunday, October 13th. In a celebration of life, friends and family shared prayers and stories about Nate.

"It was an honor to know the finest man I ever knew was my own son," said David LaFave Jr, Nate's father.

Nate was known in the community as a best friend, talented athlete and a promising scholar.

"He accomplished so much in the 15 years he had, I am going to miss him every moment of every day," said David LaFave Jr.

The LaFave family said they do not blame anyone for this tragedy. David LaFave Jr, saying, "His mother and I, his brothers, and all the rest of this family are devastated by this and it's nothing short of just a tragic accident."

Ben Kohlmeier was staying close to his Mount Michael classmates on Saturday. “I was so afraid because my mom starts crying on the phone and I was afraid because he's my best friend and my roommate and I wanted to know what was wrong and my mom tells me he got in a car crash and I couldn't believe it. I didn't want to believe it."

Alex Mikls is also trying to cope. "It's pretty rough. Nate was one of the closest guys around. He was supposed to be with us and we were supposed to hang out pretty much all day, so it's pretty sad to realize that."

David Peters, the head of Mount Michael, said LaFave loved being a member of that community and everyone loved him. "We have a lot of support. We have a really strong monastic presence here with the monks and also with our counselors and so we'll be here to support the boys."

The family is asking that friends and family of Nate post stories and pictures on his facebook page. They feel this will help with their healing, along with continuing to spread the joy Nate shared with so many people.


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