No charges in 'Nerf wars' crash that killed 2 Lakeville teens


No charges will be filed in connection with the crash that killed two Lakeville South High School students last December.

Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom made the announcement Friday.

The fatal one-vehicle crash happened after school Dec. 4 when a pickup truck carrying four teenagers rolled over on 225th Street near Dodd Boulevard. John Price, 18, and Jacob Flynn, 17, were thrown from the vehicle and died.

Following an investigation, it was determined that all of the passengers and the driver of the vehicle were voluntarily participating in a "Nerf war" game, the attorney says.

The game consists of teams shooting each other with Nerf bullets for points. According to the news release, participants are sometimes "kidnapped" and taken to various locations where other players then shoot them with the foam bullets.

What Happened

Backstrom says on the day of the crash, Flynn had been surrounded by the other teenagers involved and placed in the Toyota Tundra.

Flynn sat in the backseat between Price and another 18-year-old passenger, authorities say.

According to the news release, a witness told investigators that she met the truck on the road – she and the boys were traveling in opposite directions. The witness said the truck had been in the wrong lane, corrected itself and then started to roll. She dialed 911 and estimated the truck rolled three or four times.

Price and Flynn were pronounced dead at the scene. The 17-year-old driver suffered serious head and back injuries and was flown to Hennepin County Medical Center. The other passenger had been wearing a seatbelt and only suffered minor injuries.

Officials say the 18-year-old passenger told investigators that the teens – in the midst of the game – bumped the driver, causing him to swerve into the wrong lane, over-correct and roll the vehicle.

Since the crash, the Lakeville Area Public Schools superintendent announced that the students had decided to quit playing the game.

Charges were considered

Charges for the following crimes were considered: Kidnapping and false imprisonment, criminal vehicular homicide or injury, reckless driving, failure to exercise due care when driving and failure to drive in a single lane.

The attorney says charges weren't filed because the students voluntarily participated, there's no proof of speeding or careless driving, and it's not the driver's fault for being bumped.

Backtsrom says even though charges are not being filed, it's important to remember that "games such as 'Nerf war' have no place in a moving motor vehicle," because it can lead to disasters such as this.

Next Up

TCF Bank Stadium

15 more from Gopher football team test positive for COVID-19

That brings the total number of cases from this outbreak to 40.

Teddy Bridgewater

5 questions for Vikings-Panthers Week 12 NFC battle

The Vikings welcome Teddy Bridgewater back to U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday.

police lights

Shelter-in-place in Albert Lea after police officer shot in the chest

The officer was able to drive to an emergency room.


St. Paul officer shoots man who got out of dumpster, ran towards police

A report says the man was naked and had a steak knife.

Screen Shot 2020-11-28 at 6.58.11 PM

Gophers dominate second half to defeat Loyola-Marymount

Marcus Carr scored 26 to send the Gophers to 2-0.

Ambulance hospital emergency

Kandiyohi Co. man airlifted after hand caught in corn picker

Corn pickers are a common cause of farm accidents.

White tail deer

DNR: Passenger shot at deer out of driver's side window

The DNR said 'all sense of safety was disregarded.'

Screen Shot 2019-07-18 at 9.10.30 AM

Mpls council proposal would cut nearly $8M from 2021 police budget

The "Safety for All Budget Plan" was introduced Friday.

Shayne Munich

Man reported missing in Minneapolis found safe Saturday

Shayne Munich is described as a vulnerable adult.