Teen loses life after Lakeville scooter crash, family donates his organs

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As classmates and family of a 14-year-old critically hurt in a Lakeville scooter crash cried outside a hospital, a chaplain said Max Wilson was reaching his childhood dream Wednesday of becoming a superhero: He wouldn’t survive his injuries but he would help others live as his family decided to donate his organs.

“Let’s pause and bless this time of waiting and bless the gift of life Max’s body may give to others,” HCMC chaplain Sarah Lindberg said to the crowd gathered. “Max, you are leaving this earth much too quickly. … Help us to let go of your life on earth, to sense the heroic presence of your spirit and allow your body to be a gift of health to another.”

Max Wilson (Courtesy of GoFundMe)

Erik Wilson, Max’s uncle, told the group that the family is grateful for their support. “He was a wonderful, wonderful person” who will be greatly missed, Wilson said. Many in the crowd wore red Lakeville North High School shirts.

Max was riding a motorized scooter Monday about 3:15 p.m. when a vehicle collided with him at 179th Street (Dakota County Road 9) and Granby Lane, according to Lakeville police. He was taken to HCMC.

“We are all heartbroken by the tragic loss of Maxwell (Max) Robert Wilson,” Brittany Inman, who is organizing a fundraiser for the family, wrote on GoFundMe.

Max’s parents lost “their precious son,” and his sister “has lost her only brother,” Inman wrote.

“He was so full of life, happiness and joy,” she continued. “If you were one lucky enough to have known Max, you knew he lit up every room he walked into. Max loved sports, his family, his dogs, his friends and adventures.”

Due to the extent of his brain injuries, Inman wrote it pained her to say that Max didn’t make it.

Flag ceremony

Young people wearing Lakeville North red shirts gather along with the family of Maxwell (Max) Wilson, 14, outside HCMC in downtown Minneapolis on June 5, 2024, while a “Donate Life” flag was raised. (Mara H. Gottfried / Pioneer Press)

At Wednesday’s flag-raising ceremony outside the hospital, the group read in unison from a program: “We wait and hope …”

“For health to be restored to others through this selfless gift,” Lindberg said, competing their prayer.

“We wait and hope,” said the group, “for your spirit to be at rest,” the chaplain said.

“We wait and hope,” those gathered said, “for our grief to be lessened,” Lindberg said.

“We wait and hope,” said those in the crowd, “for the peace that goes beyond our understanding.”

Lindberg invited Max’s family to touch a LifeSource “Donate Life” flag before it was raised on a flagpole outside the downtown Minneapolis hospital. Families can opt to have such ceremonies to honor the “incredible decision” of organ donation, said Sarah Sonn, communications director at LifeSource, which is based in Minneapolis.

Young people wearing Lakeville North red shirts gather along with the family of Maxwell (Max) Wilson, 14, outside HCMC in downtown Minneapolis on June 5, 2024, while a “Donate Life” flag was raised. (Mara H. Gottfried / Pioneer Press)

“Let this flag be a reminder of Max’s willingness to offer this heroic gift,” Lindberg said. The flag will fly for 24 to 48 hours.

An Honor Walk was then held inside HCMC. That’s a time when hospital staff and others silently line the pathway to the operation room as a patient is wheeled there for organ recovery, according to LifeSource. Wednesday’s was the largest Honor Walk a LifeSource donation liaison told Sonn she’d seen.

Investigation continues

The investigation into the crash continues. A woman driving a vehicle west on 179th Street collided with Max as he crossed 179th Street from south to north on Granby Lane, police said of initial findings. Stop signs control traffic going north and south; east and westbound traffic doesn’t have stop signs.

A helmet wasn’t found at the scene of the crash, according to police. The woman driving the car didn’t report injuries.

The GoFundMe is for medical and funeral expenses. “His family works tremendously hard and this is something nobody should have to go through,” Inman wrote.

Becoming an organ donor

People can sign up to be an organ donor online through the LifeSource registry. They can also check the box to be a donor when they get or renew their Minnesota driver’s license, or when applying for a hunting or fishing license in Minnesota.

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