Gustavus women’s hockey player killed, 3 other Gusties injured in weekend crash
Four members of the national champion Gustavus Adolphus Women’s Hockey team were among five people hurt — one fatally — in a weekend crash.
Authorities say 19-year-old Jori Lynn Jones of Little Canada died Sunday after the vehicle she was in was involved in a crash in Chippewa County, around 30 miles west of Willmar.
According to the Minnesota State Patrol, Jones and three of her Gustavus teammates were in an eastbound Chevrolet Equinox on Highway 40 at around 12:40 p.m. when it and a southbound Dodge Caravan collided at the intersection of Highway 29.
The State Patrol says one of the vehicles didn’t stop at the intersection, which caused the collision. It wasn’t immediately clear which one didn’t stop.
All five people in the vehicles were taken to hospitals for treatment but Jones later died.
The other three players have been identified as 19-year-old Gianna Kat Gasparinin, 19-year-old Lily Kay Mortenson and 20-year-old Kayla Marie Bluhm. All three suffered non-life-threatening injuries and have since been released from the hospital. The driver of the Caravan, a 28-year-old Benson woman, also suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
A vigil was held Monday afternoon on the Gustavus campus as the community tried to rally around the team.
“Everyone around us knows how awesome she was,” Mortenson said Monday. “She’s the very first good friend I made at Gustavus. It’s going to be very hard.
Still recovering from her own injuries, Mortenson said she always liked being on the ice with Jones in goal.
“She was always reliable. If I made a mistake, she could back me up on it,” Mortenson said. “She was just such a reliable goalie.”
“She was an exceptional teammate and a super student here in her first year,” Gustavus women’s hockey coach Mike Carroll added.
Carroll has spent the last day talking with his players about the crash. He says he saw something special in Jones, which is why he brought her on the team.
Jones had just finished her freshman season and was a member of the college’s Division III championship-winning team.
“It’s super tough right now. Together, we will work through this and we’ll become even closer and stronger moving forward,” Carroll said.
Before going to Gustavus, Jones was on the Roseville High School hockey team.
Craig Rosenthal, Jones’ former high school coach, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that the Jones family is a staple in the Roseville hockey community and he’s mourning Jori’s loss.
“It’s extremely difficult to process right now, I’m still in a state of disbelief. My heart aches for her mom, dad, brother and sister,” Rosenthal said.
Additionally, said her personality will stick with him.
“Jori loved hockey and was the best teammate in the locker room. She came to the rink every day with a positive attitude,” Rosenthal said. “I’ve coached high school hockey for 17 years and Jori had one of the best personalities of all my players. She always said ‘Hello Craig’ with a big smile on her face and I will cherish that memory forever.”
As for Mortenson, she says she’ll always hold close to Jones’ memory.
“It’s really hard but, you know, all I can think about now was how awesome Jori was,” Mortenson said.
A GoFundMe has been started to help Jones’ family. Jones’ teammate hopes people leave hockey sticks out on their porches Monday night to support the team.
The State Patrol says the crash remains under investigation and will likely take several weeks to conclude. Everyone was reported to be wearing their seat belts and alcohol isn’t listed as a factor.