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UPDATED: Rollover crash claims River Falls teen

Responders work the scene of a fatal accident in the town of River Falls, where a pickup truck flipped onto its side. <i>Debbie Griffin photo</i>1 / 2
Flowers, balloons and messages of tribute to Sara Goldbach began appearing at the accident site early Saturday morning and classmates visited throughout the weekend. Early Monday, eastern sun streamed from behind the mementos left by friends. Steve Dzubay photo.2 / 2

A River Falls High School freshman died Friday afternoon of injuries suffered when the compact pickup truck in which she was a passenger left a town of River Falls road and overturned, ejecting her.

Sara Goldbach, 14, was pronounced dead at the scene of the 3:40 p.m. accident. Two others in the truck were identified by school authorities as students Tanner Brown and Marlee Gram. At least one was transported by ambulance to River Falls Area Hospital for evaluation.

School Superintendent Dr. Tom Westerhaus announced the tragedy to students and audience members during an intermission at Friday night's dinner show and choral concert at the high school. The concert was then discontinued, and students and parents were invited to meet with school counselors and other staff members who had assembled to assist with grief counseling.

Sara and Marlee were both members of the Camerata Choir, comprised of 56 freshmen. The group had completed a music set of five pieces shortly before the intermission began.

As house lights came up, and people began to rise to leave the auditorium for the 15-minute break, Westerhaus, dressed in a suit, moved onto the stage, took a microphone and summoned choral instructor Carrie Loney to his side as he made the announcement.

Attributing his information to the Pierce County Sheriff's Department, he noted that students had begun spreading the tragic news by phone texts and Facebook entries and school staff felt it was important Goldbach's fellow students learn of it while parents and counselors were close by.

Overnight Friday, Loney notified choral students by email that the performance scheduled for Saturday evening was cancelled as well.

On Monday, Loney announced that the concert has been rescheduled for 7 p.m., Wednesday, May 30th.

A general announcement about Sara's death was also sent to all high school parents later Friday evening.

Click here to visit the Sara Goldbach Facebook tribute page:

Click here to see Sara's obituary: www.saragoldbachobituary.

Accident details

River Falls emergency responders and Pierce County sheriff's deputies were alerted to the crash in the town of River Falls about 3:40 p.m. The initial call indicated that a female may have been trapped under the overturned vehicle, reported to be a 1997 Ford Ranger.

The scene was near N7612 950th St., about about a mile south of 770th Avenue in a winding curve, about two miles south of River Falls city limits.

Although a helicopter was launched and enroute from the Twin Cities and a wrecker was summoned to try to lift the vehicle, a first-responder soon announced that the victim appeared to be deceased. The Pierce County Medical Examiner was called.

The State Patrol responded to assist Pierce sheriff's deputies with the accident investigation.

Jerry's Towing eventually removed the truck to the Pierce County impound lot in Ellsworth.