A tragedy rocked the Pine River area Thursday, Sept. 10, when 16-year-old Rausie Cummings, of Pine River/Manhattan Beach, died in a car accident in rural Pine River that involved several other teens.
In response, Pine River-Backus School is working with Northern Pines Mental Health to provide additional counselors to students in need.
"We have brought in extra counselors from Northern Pines," said Superintendent Jon Clark. "And the faith community has been very helpful as well."
The school district scheduled special hours in the days that followed the accident to allow individuals to come in for those services, and the district continues to offer counseling moving forward.
"It's just a tragic loss with the kids being out and enjoying time together," Clark said. "It came to a tragic end. We want to support everybody moving forward."
At Pine River-Backus Schools, Cummings was involved in student council, managing the Road Crew wrestling team and participating in the high school band, according to her obituary. She was an honor roll student who worked at Bites Grill & Bar in Pine River.
A visitation will be held from 2-7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17, at Kline Funeral Home in Pine River. A funeral service will be at 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18, at Maple Hill Cemetery with a celebration immediately following at The Anderson Event Barn in rural Pequot Lakes.
Memorials are preferred to the Rausie Jo Cummings Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o First National Bank North, PO Box 767, Crosslake, MN 56442.
The Cass County Sheriff’s Office reported speed was a factor in the fatal crash. Authorities were called to the crash at 8 p.m. in Pine River Township. Deputies and responders arrived on scene and learned a 1995 Cadillac DeVille was traveling south on 26th Avenue Southwest when it left the roadway, flipping and rolling several times.
Cummings was ejected from the vehicle. Lifesaving efforts were immediately initiated, however, she was deceased on scene. The investigation shows a 16-year-old boy, from Backus, was the driver of the vehicle and was treated on scene for unknown injuries and transported to Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd.
There were three other passengers in the vehicle - two 16-year-old boys and one 16-year-old girl who were treated on scene for minor injuries.
The investigation indicates speed was a factor in the crash and alcohol does not appear to be involved, the sheriff's office reported. An autopsy is scheduled with the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office. The sheriff's office declined to release the names of the other victims in the crash, stating the decision to do so was based on their status as juveniles.
The crash remains under investigation with the assistance of the Minnesota State Patrol.
The Pine River police and fire departments and North Memorial Health Ambulance assisted on scene.
Travis Grimler may be reached at 218-855-5853 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Travis.