Family hopes life springs from Farmington HS senior killed in crash

A Farmington High School senior was killed in a car crash last weekend after a Dakota County 911 dispatcher rear-ended him.

His family hopes his death can help save lives.

17-year-old Rodrigo Dooley died in a double collision Saturday in Dakota County that started when he slowed down to make a left turn and got rear-ended.

The impact knocked him into oncoming traffic and he got hit head-on, ending his life and causing pain to dozens more.

Dooley grew up as a lovable geek.

"I joke that he was like a Steve Urkel," said Scott Hurm, Dooley’s grandfather who raised him. "I mean, he wasn’t the most athletic or anything, but he was just a good kid."

But in the last year, the high school senior took off his glasses, straightened his teeth, gained confidence, and got his first girlfriend.

Grandparents Scott and Deborah Hurm say he went GQ after he got a job and started earning money, so his room was filled with Air Jordans, expensive colognes, and brand name clothes.

"He was just totally growing into a young man and had a future," Scott Hurm said.

Dooley was still deciding what career path to follow, but he picked up his second job and went there Saturday to work out his schedule. 

He never made it home.

Minnesota State Patrol investigators say he got hit from behind when he slowed down to make a left turn off a two-lane Dakota County highway with no left turn lane.

"It just goes to show that one moment can change more lives than you can even guess," Scott Hurm said. "I mean, the outreach that we’ve gotten from Farmington, from his school, teachers, my friends…"

"People we don’t even know," Deborah interjected. "People we don’t even know, all taken away in just a second," Scott finished.

Like the scene of the crash, the Farmington High School Senior Rock has become a memorial to Dooley.

The school district sent a statement saying in part, "We were deeply saddened to learn of the loss of Rodrigo Dooley. This loss will be felt throughout our district."

The one positive for his grandparents is that Dooley chose to be an organ donor when he got his license last year.

Doctors tell them his death could mean 75 other people get to live, so his presence could be felt for years to come.

"Someday you might see somebody that would do something to remind you, but long as it helped somebody else out, that’s the type of kid he was," his grandfather said.

Dakota County backed out of the investigation because one of its dispatchers drove the SUV that hit Dooley first.

The state patrol hasn’t determined why she hit him, but they say alcohol wasn’t a factor.