The Dakota County Attorney's Office announced Friday that it will not file criminal charges in connection with a rollover crash in December that killed two Lakeville South High School students.
The crash that killed Jake Flynn, 17, and Johnny Price, 18, started with a game called "Nerf wars." There were four teens in the 2005 Toyota Tundra truck when it overturned.
"Nerf wars" participants "kidnap" their passengers and "shoot" them with a Nerf "bullet", according to authorities. The rules of the game prohibit playing on school grounds.
On Dec. 4, the truck's driver, Alexander Hughes, 17, Price and Mason Kohlbeck, 18, surrounded Flynn and put him in the vehicle. Flynn resisted being placed in the truck, the county attorney's office said.
Flynn sat in the middle of the back passenger seat, with Price sitting to his left and Kohlbeck to his right.
The truck's driver left the school compound and drove toward Dodd Road. Witnesses say they saw the truck swerving into another lane on 225th Street, just a mile and half from Dodd Road, and then roll over three or four times.
Flynn and Price were ejected from the vehicle during the rollover and died.
The county attorney said he will not pursue kidnapping and false imprisonment charges.
"All of these youth were voluntarily involved in a 'Nerf War' game, which allowed participants on one team take control of opponents of another team and transport them to locations where they could be shot by a Nerf bullet consistent with the games rules," County Attorney James Backstrom said. "Consequently, the youth involved in this game in essence consented to this activity and the elements of these crimes cannot be proved beyond a reasonable doubt."
Kohlbeck, who was slightly injured, told investigators that no one was using a phone during the crash. He added that the driver had both of his hands on the wheel when he left his lane of traffic and over-corrected, causing the truck to roll over multiple times.
Other possible charges related to the incident, such as criminal vehicular homicide, reckless driving, failure to exercise due care and failure to drive in a single lane, were not pursued because of "insufficient evidence to meet the elements of this crime."
"While no criminal charges are being filed in this case, I hope that all youth take notice of how quickly tragedy can occur while operating a motor vehicle," Dakota County Attorney Jim Backstrom said in a statement. "Games such as 'Nerf War' have no place in a moving motor vehicle as they can lead to distractions to or interference with the driver with deadly consequences as occurred in this preventable incident."
"In fact, these types of games which can involve aggressive behaviors among youth have no place in our schools and communities and should end," he added.