Mounds View soccer team promotes driver safety after car crashes rock community

Drivers always have the choice whether to get into a car and whether they buckle up, and those split second decisions can change lives. That message was driven home Thursday night at Mounds View High School.

Two car crashes, one fatal, involving Mounds View students rocked the community this summer. At the girls soccer game, two big rival high schools came together hoping to raise awareness about driver safety.

"We came up with the idea as captains with our coaches as well, and we just wanted to make a difference," Celine Klum, one of the team captains.

In June, one of the players, Berit Hudson, was one of six teens hurt in a crash when their car hit a tree in Ham Lake.

"It was super hard when I was in the ambulance I didn't know if my friends were OK. I didn't know how anybody was, and it was probably one of the scariest things I ever had to go through," Hudson said.

"It's every parent's worst nightmare to get that phone call in the middle of the night: ‘This is officer so-and-so. Your daughter's been in a terrible car crash,’" said her mom, Rachel Hudson.

Miraculously, all six teens survived. But in July, the community was rocked once again when another student was killed in a crash in Lake Elmo.

"For another accident to happen a couple weeks after hers, it says that there's still a lot of work to be done," said Katelynn Fast, head coach of the Mounds View girls soccer team.

That work meant standing by side with Irondale High, which is typically the school’s rival.

"This is a community, and we need to support each other and help each other through tragedy," said Desiree Cremeen, head coach of the Irondale girls soccer team.

As Hudson supports her teammates from the bench, she wants other teens to know that they always have a choice whether to get in a car.

"Our injuries probably wouldn’t have been as bad if we had a seat belt on. Probably just speaking up, too. I know it's hard for some people, but speaking up, telling the driver to slow down – it might have just ended differently," Hudson said.

"Most of these kids don't realize that they aren't invincible and that these habits that they have of checking their phone – that they need to put more thought into what they're doing," Fast said.

Hudson spent the last three months in a back brace, and she said it is not the way she envisioned starting off her senior year, but she's hoping to get back on the field by the end of the season.

"Although I'm not playing, I'm still a part of the team," she said.