Braham High School Mourns Loss of 2 Students Killed in Crash

March 12, 2018 05:20 AM

Two high school students from Braham died following a vehicle crash Saturday morning east of Mora.

The Kanabec County Sheriff's Office said the two-vehicle crash occurred about 9:30 a.m. at the intersection of 195th Avenue and Rainbow Street.


Gavin Butenhoff, a passenger, died at the scene. The driver of that vehicle, Alexis Hasser, was taken to North Memorial Medical Center, where she later died. Butenhoff was a junior and Hasser a senior at Braham Area High School. She was supposed to graduate in May. 

Friends confirm the teenagers were high school sweethearts.

"None of us knew how bad it was, we knew there was an accident," classmate Kaylie Paitl said.

The district said 220 students are enrolled in the high school. When one hurts, they all do. 

"You are my best friend," Sierra Giffrow said of Hasser. "I don't know what I will do without you."

While Butenhoff was new to the school, Hasser has been in the district since her first day of kindergarten. Everyone, including staff, knew her, according to Superintendent Ken Gagner. 

"You look at what life is like for a senior year, and you lose a member of the family," he said. "It's devastating."

The district did what it could to lift up its campus community and opened the school doors for three hours Sunday for anyone who wanted to visit with clergy and counselors. Gagner said grief counselors will be back on Monday. 

A GoFundMe page has been established in Hasser's name to help pay for medical and funeral expenses. There is also a GoFundMe for Butenhoff.

Two occupants of the other vehicle, a tan pickup truck, were transported to North Memorial with what the sheriff's office said were non life-threatening injuries.

The sheriff's office did not provide additional crash details.


Beth McDonough

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