An 18-year-old Valley City man died following a single-vehicle rollover on Thursday night.
A 2004 Chevrolet Silverado driven by Dillon Kapaun, a senior at Valley City High School, was observed driving south out of town on County Road 21 by a Valley City Police Officer who saw sparks emitting from the front left wheel assembly.
A caller to the Valley City Police Department reported a pick-up had hit the bridge on Viking Drive prior to the rollover, and Sgt. Josh Rude with the Highway Patrol confirmed it was the same vehicle.
A police officer was going to attempt to stop the vehcile, but it was unable to negotiate the turns one mile south of Interstate 94 and entered the east ditch.
The vehicle continued southbound in the ditch before striking an approach sending it airborne. The truck landed south of the approach and struck a utility pole with its front-left corner causing it to spin and roll.
The pickup came to a rest right-side up facing north by northeast.
Kapaun, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was taken to Mercy Hospital in Valley City prior to being airlifted by Sanford Life Flight to Sanford Hospital in Fargo where he died from his injuries.
Rude said the Highway Department is still investigating the crash and could not confirm if Kapaun was disoriented from the earlier collision or if alcohol or drugs played a factor in the accident.
“Part of any fatal investigation is we do a blood draw that gets sent to the crime lab for analysis, so we’re waiting to hear back on that,” Rude said.
“That’s kind of a ‘hurry-up-and-wait’ ball game; it’s usually a week to two weeks.”
On Friday at the High School, School Councilors Al Sorensen, Vanessa Kocka and Amy Tahran, as well as members from local ministerial associations, were on hand to help students through their grief.
“Basically what we do in those types of situations is we make the counselors available to the students throughout the day,” Valley City Public Schools Superintendent Dean Koppelman said.
“Overall the school day went as well as possible under these circumstances; students and staff worked together and did pretty well for the day, but again, under some pretty trying circumstances.”
Koppelman said Kapaun was a “fine young man, and definitely will be missed here at our school.”