Update: Teens Remain Hospitalized Following Gretna Crash

Two teenage girls remain hospitalized following a crash that killed 15-year-old Nate LaFave on Friday.

Madeline Shely has been upgraded to fair condition at the Nebraska Medical Center. The other teen, Carly Anne Kelly remains in critical condition.

A Facebook page has been created to keep friends and family up-to-date on Kelly's condition. According to a post made Tuesday, Kelly underwent another surgery and is now fully sedated in an induced coma.

Baylie Kudlacz is Carly Anne Kelly's big sister at Marian meaning Baylie has been giving the younger student advice ever since she entered high school.

"Carly liked to make bows," she said. And since the crash, Marian students have been making bows to raise money for Carly and Madeline. At $5 apiece, they've raised more than $600.

"It shows that we're close here at Marian and everyone is affected by this," Baylie said.

The Traffic Questions Continue

While a number of schools in the metro are showing support for the three friends in that crash, the neighbors around the site where it happened are wondering if this will finally be wake-up call to get a traffic light installed.

We took the question to the Department of Roads where Tim Weander told us, "When we go through the design process, we look at all the intersections about what the traffic counts are and what they are projected to be. At this particular intersection of 370 and 180th street, the warrants were not met. A warrant is a need for a traffic signal."

Highway 370 near Gretna is a major artery now with four lanes and additional turn lanes - a far cry from the two-lane road a few years ago.

The intersection is always busier at this time of year because of the popularity of Vala's Pumpkin Patch down the road but the state says putting a signal there is contingent on the traffic pattern all year long.

"If you have a signal out there that is only operated at certain times of the year, the unfamiliar driver wouldn't know what to do with that signal," Weander said.

The answer to the traffic signal question is no for now but once construction is complete on 370 in a month, if more drivers use it than previously expected, that could change.

Posted October 14, 2013

Two teenagers remain hospitalized Monday night following a crash that killed 15-year-old Nate LaFave on Friday. The two girls attend Marian High School, and their classmates are now relying on prayer to stay strong. Families of the two girls said they are devastated by what happened.

Friday evening, the three teenagers were in a Jeep that collided with a pickup at 180th and Highway 370. The driver, 16-year-old Madeline Shely of Elkhorn, remains in serious condition. A passenger in her vehicle, 15-year-old Carly Anne Kelly of Omaha, is listed in critical condition. LaFave was taken to the hospital were he later died.

The driver of the pickup was not hurt. Sarpy County deputies are still investigating the circumstances surrounding the crash.

Drivers have been critical of the wide intersection where the deadly crash happened. Some say it’s tough to cross; that perhaps lights are needed to control traffic.

Maddie Shely remained in serious condition Monday night, though her family reports through her CaringBridge website that her breathing tube has been removed. Carly Kelly, remained in critical condition. Both are at the Nebraska Medical Center.

Students and faculty spent all day Monday praying for a full and quick recovery for the two girls. They also prayed for the family of Nate LaFave.

Susan Toohey, Head of School at Marian, told WOWT 6 News, the day started with faculty and students gathering to sing and pray. They talked about grieving, and how nobody grieves in the same way. She said, they told the students it is okay to be sad.

She also said the two girls' absence Monday was extremely noticeable. She described the two girls as "two peas in a pod." She said, "They are both cheerleaders, very energetic, very spirited, they live the Marian Traditions and Values, and they are very positive, very optimistic."

Toohey told WOWT 6 News that cheerleading practice still went on Monday morning, but the girls talked and prayed rather than cheered. "The cheerleading team is taking this very hard, when you're part of a team, they trust each other so when something happens to one of your teammates it's like it happened to yourself."

The school had counselors on hand for students. Toohey said many took advantage of that, and spoke with them.

The students also signed giant posterboards for Maddie and Carly, writing their prayers and well-wishes. Toohey delivered the boards to the girls at the hospital Monday night.

Toohey explained, that Marian Values are all about having a strong faith and being an independent woman. She said, "I'm holding Carly's hand at the end of my prayers and I said I know you're going to fight this cause you're strong and you're a fighter and she squeezed my hand, and that's when me and her mom started crying, she said."

Many of the messages dealt with faith, and prayer, which is exactly what Toohey said the girls need.

"Carly's mom called me about 2 in the morning and when the phone rings at 2 in the morning you know it's not good news, and my first thought was what can we do for you? And of course her response was we just need lots of prayers. And, we're good at that," Toohey said.

The families of the two girls said they are devastated by what happened.
In a written statement, the family of Kelly said, "We are absolutely devastated with what has happened, but are sincerely grateful for everyone's thoughts and prayers."

Nathan LaFave

Shely's family also issued a written statement. "Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to the LaFave family. Nate was an extraordinary young man whom Maddie loved dearly. We appreciate all the continued prayers for both Maddie and Carly during this difficult time. We would especially like to thank those first on the scene, including the driver of the other vehicle involved in the accident, for his quick thinking during what must have been a horrific experience. We also appreciate the extraordinary care given by the critical care team at the med center. If anything positive could come out of this, we would like to see some changes at the intersection to prevent further loss of life."

Fifteen-year-old Nate LaFave was one of Elkhorn Mt. Michael's best. He even promoted the school and encourged others to attend.

Mt. Michael's David Peters said, "He was one of our sophmores, on our cross country team and just a well-rounded kid; great kid. Everybody loved this young man."

Counselors spoke with teachers and students at Mt. Michael Monday to remind them all of just how precious life is.

Peters said, "We all know teenagers believe they can do some things but there are limitations and they need to realize that they need to take more care. We've always told them to be very careful. We said that this morning, how fragile life is."

LaFave's wake and viewing will be at St. Stephen the Martyr at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday and the funeral is also scheduled there at 10 a.m. on Wednesday. St. Stephens is located near 168th and S streets.